Citizen Flies Westward, Chasing an Endless Sunset, in Global Campaign From W+K

Watchmaker races across time

Headshot of Tim Nudd

If you fly westward at just the right speed, at just the right latitude, you can witness a perpetual sunset—a ghostly twilight that lingers, hour after hour, as you cross from one time zone to the next. For Citizen Watches, this was an intriguing thought—and soon became a compelling challenge, as the brand decided such a stunt would be a great way to show off its new Eco-Drive Satellite Wave F100 watch, which automatically adjusts to a new time zone in just three seconds.

Soon, Wieden + Kennedy's Amsterdam and Tokyo offices were deep into planning just such a flight. They found a pilot (Jonathan Nicol) to do the flying, and a photographer (Simon Roberts) to take pictures of the never-ending, though ever-evolving sunset. And one day in late February, they took off from Reykjavik in Iceland and headed for the Arctic Circle—documenting the experience for a new global campaign.

The result is the five-minute film below, the centerpiece of the integrated campaign.

They flew at an exact latitude of 80 degrees, where the Earth rotates at 289.95 kilometers per hour. Flying in the opposite direction to the Earth's rotation, they were able to stay in the same moment in time and experience the same sunset over and over again—each time in a new location. (Roberts' sunset photos were used to craft the print and digital ads.)

The tagline: "Better starts now."

"When you have a product as remarkable as this, you need to do something remarkable with it," said Michael Farr, executive creative director at Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo. "We needed something that showed off its ability to flex through time zones but show it in an engaging, honest way. The idea of chasing the sun across time zones was just that—a demonstration that put the watch through its paces while doing something original and entertaining."

For much more on this campaign, check out The Spot in next Monday's issue of Adweek.

Credits below.


Client: Citizen Watch Co.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy

Executive Creative Directors: Mike Farr, Tota Hasegawa, W+K Tokyo

Art Director: Vasco Vicente, W+K Amsterdam

Copywriters: Evgeny Primachenko, W+K Amsterdam; Takeshi Amata, W+K Tokyo

Head of Broadcast Production: Erik Verheijen, W+K Amsterdam

Broadcast Producers: Tony Stearns, Lars Fabery de Jonge, W+K Amsterdam

Digital Producer: Reiko Kawaguchi, W+K Tokyo

Planners: Danny Feeney, W+K Amsterdam; Kenichiro Muraguchi, W+K Tokyo

Head of Design: Joe Burrin, W+K Amsterdam

Head of Studio: Jackie Barbour, W+K Amsterdam

Studio Designer: Thomas Payne, W+K Amsterdam

Project Manager: Emma Williamson, W+K Amsterdam

Business Affairs:  Michael Graves, W+K Amsterdam

Account Directors: Kensuke Suemasa, W+K Tokyo; Eleanor Thodey, W+K Amsterdam

Account Supervisor: Yoshiko Amano, W+K Tokyo

Production Company: Smuggler

Director: Tristan Patterson

Producer: Hera King

Executive Producer: Chris Barrett

Editing: Whitehouse Post

Editor: James Forbes-Robertson

Postproduction Company: The Ambassadors

Postproducer: Thijs Klaassen

Music, Sound Design, Mix: The Ambassadors

Web Production Company: Grandbase

Director: Shunya Hagiwara

Producer: Yosuke Kurita

Web Designer:  Shinpe Yamamori

Technical Director: Yoshiaki Fujimori

Interactive Designer: Junya Kojima

Join Dwyane WadeJulian DuncanAndrea BrimmerRick Gomez and more at Brandweek Masters Live, on Sept. 14-17, for main stage insights, in-depth Masterclasses and more. Register now (early-bird rates expire 9/1)

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.