Computer device maker Apple has returned to the Czech Republic to film another advertisement, this time for Apple Watch Series 5. The two-minute advertising clip was released September 10, and two days later was already closing in on 2 million views.
The ad was directed by UK-based Ian Pons Jewell, who has previously made music videos for Rejjie Snow, Vince Staples, and Naughty Boy, as well as other advertisements.
Sharp-eyed viewers will recognize a Prague street with an Art Deco doorway, a cafe, the Náměstí Míru stop on the Metro A line, and a gym, pool and stadium at the Slavia sports complex. There is also a bit at the Velká Amerika quarry near Beroun, and some flowery fields.
Prague’s identity is carefully hidden, with no obvious Czech-language signs in focus.
Locally based actors were used in the ad. Czech actor Daniel Čech, known for the TV show Na stojáka, appears as a Scout leader at the quarry scene. Expat actor Dan Bradford, who was in films such as Underworld: Blood Wars and the TV series Carnival Row, can be seen in the metro asking his watch to play Elton John’s album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
Filming in the Náměstí Míru station took place after midnight, when the station was closed. The cast and crew had a strictly limited time.
The choreography of the 10-second scene, getting all the extras in the exact right spots, was very precise, though it looks like a random crowd. “The filming for our scene lasted about four hours as the metro would be opening. However we did a rehearsal the night before for about four hours to ensure everyone knew their blocking. I’d say we did at least 20 takes. Over all, it went very smoothly and the combined crew of UK and Czech people worked well together,” actor Bradford said.
He didn’t have to resort to method acting for his line. “Of course I like Elton John. He’s definitely a master musician,” Bradford said.
The metro scene in particular has caught people’s attention. It features contactless turnstiles, with someone using a watch to pay the fare. Prague does not have turnstiles, but relies on ticket inspectors to catch fare evaders. “Have I missed something or do we really have this in Prague now,” one person said on Twitter.
People also mentioned that most of the metro has no WiFi or data coverage. “Dear @Apple your new Apple Watch may be awesome, but I doubt it would work on the Prague metro, as there is no reception. But cool AD and thank for featuring Prague,” internet reporter Janek Rubeš, better known as the honest Guide, said on Twitter.
The advertisement shows off the various features of the watch, ranging from turning on lights to monitoring heart rate. “This watch tells time, among other things,” the advertisement concludes.
This is not the first Apple ad shot in the Czech Republic. At the end of 2018, an ad for the iPhone XR Liquid Retina display featured locations including the Vltavska metro stop, the New Stage of the National Theatre and Strahov stadium.
While Prague’s appearances in films like Spider-Man: Far From Home tend to get a lot of the attention from the public, advertisements and music videos actually provide a lot of work for local studios, technicians and actors.