In this annual Independence Day spot for Gudang Garam, Square Box Cinetech was called upon to create an ad that personified patriotism while still ringing true to those who witnessed the trials and tribulations of the country’s transformation into a modern nation.

Creative Director Amet Mulyanegara of Dentsu Strat honed-in on this struggle for this 90-second television spot — using the national flag, the Merah Putih, as a witness to the country’s transformation from a nation united in the struggle for independence to a nation riven by in-fighting between various interest groups.

Opening with a brawl between supporters of rival football clubs before moving on to scenes of communal violence, quarrels between student activists and political parties on the march, each scene is rendered in desaturated hues, with only the Merah Putih standing out in vivid full color.

The flag narrates the scenes in knowing tones as the camera winds back the clock, swiftly bringing the viewer back to the hard-fought Battle of Surabaya and the Dutch flag being pulled from the top of the Yamato Building and ripped in two. The images are now rendered in full color as the narrator, the national flag, looks back fondly on a time when it wasn’t misused by special interest groups or sidelined to fly above the fray.

Each historical scene was painstakingly recreated, with period weapons, uniform and automobiles featured in each shot. In Surabaya, the crew brought in an exact replica of the Buick that carried Brig. AWS Mallaby before his assassination. In Jakarta, the crew used CGI and post-production effects to render the city of Surabaya as it was in the 1940s.


“The main challenge was to portray the historical event as accurately as possible, which involved a lot of research on the historical background,” said Producer Purbo Priyono. “The end result was a credible and visually stunning representation of the time.”

The finished product is a poignant and honest reminder of the struggle and sacrifice of those who fought for the nation’s freedom — and how these feelings can inspire hope today.

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