Welcome 2014!

A big BKI welcome to the New Year!  We’re excited to be back at work on some brilliant projects, starting 2014 with a bang.

Some of our work took on a new life over the course of the last year, with the over-sized Jim Beam cans (Jim Beam Bourbon for The Works) moving from their cooler at Bondi Icebergs out to bottle shops all around the country – perhaps you’ve already seen one at your local?

These iconic cans are truly living it up after being salvaged from the pool – send us a photo if you happen to find one. Cheers!

photo 1[1] copyphoto 3 copyphoto

Twitter/Instagram: @BKIJIMBEAM Locations include: Bathurst Panthers, Grey Gums Hotel Penrith, Ambervale Tavern, Kemps Creek Liquor Master & BWS Bayswater Victoria.

We took great care in relocating the magnificent marble Fountain we sculpted for artist Hany Armanious from the MCA Rooftop to Heidi Sculpture Garden. The sculpture is now on long term loan to the Heide Museum of Modern Art.

Hany Armanious Fountain, Heidi
Fountain at Heide Museum of Modern Art. Courtesy of Heide

Our team created the fun-filled Lipton Sparkling Iced Tea ride, fitted out a traveling VW Kombi Cafe, created the amazing staging centrepiece which provided the backdrop for the SEVEN West Media launch and the glowing Vodaphone 4G brand device which lit up the Sydney Harbour foreshore.

Bring on your best briefs and give us a challenge, we look forward to imagineering the future with you!


The Making of Jim Beam’s Giant Esky


The Giant Jim Beam Esky that emerged from Bondi Icebergs last month has been making some major waves in the media, but the story that has yet to be told is how the magic happened.

As the creative realisers of this off-beat dream creative, Big Kahuna Imagineering had the monumental task of converting Bondi Icebergs’ 50-metre Olympic pool into one Giant Jim Beam Esky.

Big-Kahuna-Imagineering-Giant-Jim-Beam-EskyLiterally turning the seaside pool into a functioning cooler wasn’t an option, but creating the look and feel at a giant scale… that’s our kind of job.

With only 36 hours to install, shoot a TVC and de-install, the pressure of the job was barely surmountable for all involved. It was a race against the tides, the pool plug, the TVC production company and their helicopter arriving, the cafe opening hours, the local residences sleep disturbances, the speed of a 10-tonne tow truck and, of course, over 120 legs and arms racing up and down the goat track from the road to the ocean pool floor – safely at night.  But that wasn’t the start of the story.

Weeks before install day, the BKI Workshop was abuzz with preparations:  concept design, testing with small-scale models, ice cube fabrication, giant label-making, and so on.

The heros of the project were the 33 oversized Jim Beam cans, 31 of which were 2/3-sized cans standing 2.8-metres tall and 2-metres in diameter each with its own structural base inspired by several types of seaweed to lend it a unique angle whilst semi-buoyant in the pool.  The remaining two cans were full-scale replicas at over 4 x 2-metre in diameter complete with concave base aluminum detail.

JIM BEAM CANS 007Each can was of clear plastic substrate so required a chemical etch bonding primer coating.  To achieve the optically awkward resolution of ink-based aluminum can printing process, we developed a black pipped and platinum mica-tinged clear top coat.

By install day, there were essentially four fabrication sites plus the delivery location which meant there was a lot of freight via customised trucks which could carry just 3 cans each, so… 33 cans divided by 3 per load x at least 3 movements each caused nothing short of minor grid locks across Sydney from the Spit to the Harbour Bridge and Bondi Road included.

Once on location, the task set out before us was to load more than 30 tonnes of materials down a winding path, over two balconies and down a flight of stairs… only to carry it all back up by hand less than 24 hours later.  So, as soon as the team at Bondi Icebergs’ emptied both pools, we jumped straight in.

Big-Kahuna-Imagineering-Giant-Jim-Beam-Esky-InstallThe edges of the esky were lifted into place, each can was rolled then carried in one at a time by no less than four men, the pool was partially re-filled and then came the “ice”.  Over 2500 individual, PVC, inflated and gang-moulded “ice cubes” were strategically placed around the cans.

The job wasn’t finished until we had installed a 15 x 18-metre lobster-plate style branded, floating sign — custom-designed to withstand cascading wave sets should they have arisen, much like the hinged waste gates on the ocean edge of the esky sides were designed to “let” large waves pass rather than become flotsam jetsam at the first breaker.

From the commencement of bump out to the final pulling of the roller door was a full four days work thereafter.  Then throw into the mix the task of separating the materials for recycling and we finally cracked a can of actual Beam to celebrate.

This was a project of precarious logistical feasibility at best and we’re thrilled it was so well received (and didn’t cause any environmental disasters in the process).

And, here’s a look at the finished product…



Advertising Agency:  The Works

Media Agency:  Unity

TVC Production:  Exit Films

Creative Realisation:  Big Kahuna Imagineering

Vac forming:  Warringah Plastics

(special thanks to Colin at Warringah Plastics for expert thermo-forming and specialised plastic fabrication services)

A couple of our favourite comments from the blogosphere:

Campaign Brief:
Lover of real life, crazy, massive, proper large shizzle said:
I saw this today, and the setup was executed to perfection. Makes you remember life before CGI. Great ambition, and I hope it goes well for you The Works.

The Call said:
…. Love the vision and a brave client.

Giant Jim Beam Esky at Bondi

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sYoO_r-ESw]

Giant Jim Beam EskyIt was a mammoth week for Big Kahuna Imagineering converting Bondi Icebergs’ 50-metre Olympic pool into one giant Jim Beam esky for the final part of the bourbon brand’s international TVC — and it’s not over yet!

Loading in more than 30 tonnes of materials including over 2,500 custom-fabricated and gang-moulded ice cubes as well as 31 cans of Jim Beam standing 2m-wide and 2.8m-tall down a winding path, over two balconies and down a flight of stairs… only to carry it all back up by hand less than 24 hours later… this was certainly a project of Titanic proportions!

B&T’s got the scoop on the $10 million campaign and gave BKI a much-appreciated mention for the part we played (still playing!), read all about it here…

Keep an eye here, we’ll be adding more photos and footage of the behind-the-scenes action (once we’ve recovered!)

Giant Jim Beam Esky Big-Kahuna
Above: Will Colhoun, Managing Director of Big Kahuna Imagineering, directs final
dressing while John Sattler makes adjustments in the pool.
Above: Big Kahuna’s latest project; Jim Beam’s “biggest esky in the world” activation is part of a global ‘make history’ campaign.