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An Advert:
NuMetro Cinema Ad for the launch of
50 Shades of Grey in South Africa

In October 2014 I worked on an advert for as director of photography.
The online sex-toy retailer had cleverly decided to advertise during the launch and screening of the much anticipated cinema block-buster “50 Shades of Grey” (launching Friday 13th February, 2015, TODAY!).

We had 20 seconds of advertising space, the ad would be the last one screened before the movie showed across the country, a creative and fun project to be involved with.

Some behind the scenes moments captured during the making of's NuMetro cinema advert last year.
Some behind the scenes moments captured during the making of’s NuMetro cinema advert last year at Banksia Boutique Hotel.

Ross Campbell did a fab job of shooting all the video footage and managed the editing and sound while I co-ordinated location, styling, models, props, concept and dialogue, etc. We shot over one day at the beautiful Banksia Boutique Hotel in Rosebank, Mowbray with our male figure Daryn (not pictured here) and model Yolande Malherbe who I worked with at Playboy a few years previously.

BTS Passionfruit Cinema Ad 025 director of Photography Leah Hawker
The concept was simple, fun and clear: is the place you’re going to find your inner 50-Shades as they don’t just stock the original range, designed with the author of the book, but also another 1000+ similar goodies to spice up your bedroom life-style in which ever way you choose.

The ad played loosley on the characters in the movies’ storyline as well as having a touch of a BDSM feel in a very low-key way.

I enjoyed the editing process which I’m not so familiar with since I only work with stills. The added elements of timing, movement and sound etc are so powerfully interpreted by a viewer…

I shot a few stills after the shoot for to use as banner ads on their webpage or social media platforms if needed, and one or two pretty lingerie-ish ones just for Yolandi and myself.

Its the first time the negligee she’s wearing has ever been used from my lingerie collection….and its been in there for a good 10 years.

I mailed Yolandi these few pics a day ago and asked her what her thoughts were about the shoot we did together:

What did you think of the concept for the advert which was loosely based  on the characters of the 50 Shades movie?

I thought it was a clever. I mean, selling sex toys is never subtle or discreet, but the way this ad was done, was brilliant! When I heard who all would be a part of the production team, I was totally at ease and knew it would be done super professionally.

Your thoughts on lip-biting “know-how” now that yours will be cinema screen size?

It’s all in the name of pulling off a great job. I had my shy moments on set and I blushed when I saw the final results, but everyone knows I’m not conservative and very open minded. People will probably be like “Of course Yolandi is in this ad. Wasn’t she a sex columnist at one point?”

How do you think the movie 50 Shades of Grey will be received in SA….do you think passionfruit is going to run out of stock? ;-)

I dont think SA is as conservative as before, so there will definitely be no protesters outside! Haha! People loved the book and now there’s a movie – recipe for success. And I most definitely think people are going to save the website link when they see the ad, just before they have to switch their phones off. And then when they get home….add to cart.


I reckon 50 Shades has done quite a bit for South African conservatism in the bedroom…which means passionfruit have probably hit the nail on the head with their ad space. This quote from the passionfruit press release:

Jörg Masche, Co-Founder of, believes that the global phenomenon of the 50 Shades trilogy has lifted taboos and shifted stigmas, allowing people to expand their sexual consciousness and unwrap their sexuality without fear of judgement.“Activities such as role-play and BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission) have become acceptable thanks to 50 Shades,” adds Masche. “Kinky is in and, as a result, many couples who were playing around with the ideas of role play or something a bit saucier, can now experiment and have fun without any negativity attached to their sexual preferences.”

I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of press comes of the 50 Shades movie in SA media as well as hearing about how this advert effects’s stock levels…

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