Fuel Lisboa for Queer Lisboa: “Surprise, Surprise”

Queer Lisboa International Film Festival wants to keep moviegoers engaged and intrigued. And to keep attendees on their feet, festival organizers change the theme, and the opening film, every year. This year, they intended to delight movie lovers with a little surprise. Fuel Lisboa Creative Director Marcelo Lourenço, excitedly tells us more.

What was the insight that led to this spot?

Fuel Lisboa has been working with Queer Lisboa since 2010, and throughout seven years, our only rule has been to always try something different. We went from drama in “Obscene” and action in “Mister Pink” to humor in “Death of the Gay Clichéand the epic “Pride Heart.” Last year, with “Welcome,” we tried a long copy piece with our “straight-friendly” concept. It was kind of natural this year to try and create the simplest spot that we could. No words, just one scene with a big surprise at the end. I think it was our funniest advert so far.

What is the story and the message that Queer Lisboa wanted to tell?

From the beginning, our work with Queer Lisboa has had one goal: to make the festival reach an audience beyond the LGBTQA+ community. Yes, the festival content has one common theme—gay and lesbian—but the festival is, or should be, for moviegoers of any gender and sexual orientation.

Who’s the target audience?

The LGBTQA+ community is the main target audience, but our campaigns attracted a different kind of consumer: people who love cinema and want to watch the best movies that have been made around the globe.

How does this spot appeal to them?

“Surprise, Surprise” is an homage to a famous scene in movie history with a surprising gay twist. This is precisely what Queer Lisboa is: a festival about movies first, although all of the films screened have the LBGTQA+ theme in common.

Did you have any challenges while creating this campaign?

Since 2010, the partnership between Fuel and Queer Lisboa produced a string of very successful spots—both in the media and on the awards circuit. Every year, some love the spot and some hate it. It’s great because that means our work is touching a nerve and starting a conversation. So, the big challenge this year was to make something better than in the previous years.

Was it difficult to clean up all that glitter?

The glitter was very difficult to clean, but worse was that the actor—a classical drama theater actor—completely lost his voice after five takes. We had to dub in all the screaming.

What’s the atmosphere like in Portugal during the festival?

Queer Lisboa is such a great event. It attracts the Lisbon cultural elite from the City Culture Secretary to the American Ambassador, who is such a great supporter of the festival. Several industries, from airlines to fashion, sponsored the festival, and made the opening gala such an awesome party.

On top of that, our spot is formally introduced to the public at the opening gala—and it always gets a big round of applause, which is an award in itself.

What’s the reaction to this spot so far?

It was highlighted at Ads of the World, Best Ads on TV, and got very funny mentions at LBBO and at the Culture Pub program in France. It was in the media news in Portugal, Brazil, and Latin America. Plus, it’s just been praised by the Lürzers’ Archive Magazine. As usual, there are people saying it is the best we’ve made so far, as well as people who bash the ad. But we welcome all feedback.