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How to make your brand stand out

We’ve got the second new TV ad in our From The Heart campaign for LV= launching today. This time round it’s a commercial for their Home Insurance product. It’s a big, bold, eye-catching colourful affair, again soundtracked by The Sonics version of ‘Have Love Will Travel’.

We thought for this blog, to do something a little different and go in to a little more detail about how we actually made the ad as the production of this one in particular was something else.

The campaign idea originated from the strategy of creating differentiation between LV= and their competitors by highlighting their products and outstanding customer service, as well as their great value too. We were also keen to find a way to show LV=’s unique, caring and vibrant personality too.  Hence a campaign theme of  ‘From The Heart’.

This was to be underpinned by building on really recognisable brand identity elements that we’ve developed over our time working with LV=. In particular, a big part of our thinking was how to bring the iconic LV= green heart front and centre stage and to really utilise the high recognition factor that LV=’s use of ‘Have Love Will Travel’ has.

We also knew that we’d have to maximise the budget that we had as it was being spread over a campaign of TV ads. Previous ads have been shot on location, but with these considerations in mind, we began thinking that shooting everything in one place may be the way forward.

Similarly, we started on developing ideas that would really emphasise the music too. We felt that doing a full blown musical might be going too far, but something that was clever, different and very distinct may be the way forward. We decided to go for a route where movement would be synchronised and choreographed in time with the music, to really emphasise the track, but not done in a way as to feel like we were doing a dance piece. Instead of people moving in time with the music, perhaps other things could instead. Like maybe an entire house.

  

So how to bring the ad to life? We loved the idea of working with director Ben Scott from RSA Films. Our producer Emma Johnston had worked with him on a previous job and was impressed with his problem solving skills and his ability to keep calm under pressure (perfect given some slightly truncated deadlines too). His work is clever, sophisticated, with a strong sense of movement and air of theatricality and his experience of designing massive set builds for Hollywood films was ideal. Right from the start he was keen on actually doing all the scenes for the ad in camera rather than using any post production CGI techniques to make the magic happen. And that sounded brilliant to us.

Following on from an extensive storyboarding process, the next step was to bring the ad to life. The use of a theatrical set in which to base all four ads gave us licence to have a bit of fun with the action. Embracing LV=’s sense of fun and quirkiness, Ben developed a series unexpected sequences and moments that felt right at home in the set-themed environment.

The construction of two separate sets, an exterior and a fully moving interior one too led us to a massive building in Bucharest Film Studios. Not only did the crew there design and build the sets in under three weeks, they worked perfectly and the art direction was spot on too. Walls swung out, walls were lowered down and we were able to ‘repair’ the house exteriors too.

 

  

One of the next challenges Ben and the team faced was getting everything to co-ordinate and synchronise perfectly. He got on board Paul Roberts, a choreographer whose has previously worked with, amongst others, One Direction, Prince and Katy Perry as well as X-Factor, Strictly and Britain’s Got Talent. Even though this ad in particular was not a dance piece his contribution was invaluable in getting the timing and movement to flow seamlessly.

Then there was the cast too. We needed people who would be comfortable working to music so we cast solely from those with dancing backgrounds. We also needed some with very specific skills, like trampolining to add that special ‘how did they do that?’ element to a few key moments in the ad.

 

Doing  stunt work in camera was one thing, but Ben was also keen on putting in some other live action elements in there too. In particular, this was the re-assembling 25% sign that features at the end of the ad. This was real life construction that we wanted to have a charm of its own. That involved a cunning mechanism involving string, wire and six guys all pulling simultaneously whilst hiding behind the wall.

    

Another thing that made it all a little bit more exciting was an unexpected one – the lack of right hand drive cars in Romania. Because we were shooting four ads simultaneously and some of them were involving cars, to keep it all consistent everything was shot in mirror image. That even meant building flipped number plates. And because our cast was featured in all the ads, the decision was made to flip this ad too so that they looked the same across the campaign. Only slightly confusing when it came to the edit as the ad didn’t.

And then right at the end, one the biggest challenges of the shoot, creating the LV= heart for the endframe by having various objects  carried by cast members arriving at exactly the same precise time. Challenging, but thanks to Paul’s meticulous timing and Ben and the DOP’s skill one that was achieved perfectly.

  

For Designate:

Creative team: Faye Carre, Daniel Fagg
Account handling team: Becky Sherriff, Miriam Boote
Agency producer: Emma Johnston

For RSA Films:

Director: Ben Scott
Producer: Alex Heathcote
Production Manager: Lilian Moore
DOP: Ed Wild
Production Designer: Ed West

Location: Bucharest Film Studios.

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