Pivoting Production for a Pandemic-Proof Video Shoot
Changing Our Plan, Not Our Tune, to Keep Our Client Humming During COVID-19
As an advertising agency in our 11th year, we have encountered many challenges in our mission to provide simple, creative solutions for our clients’ complex business, marketing and branding needs. This year, those challenges came in the form of a worldwide pandemic that drastically changed how our clients conducted business and how we work within new, necessary safety measures. Our ability to adapt is best demonstrated by our creative pivot in producing a series of commercial videos for one of our favorite clients.
In November 2019, our creative team presented concepts for three 30-second video commercials for our long-time client, Party Time—a local, mom-owned and operated party supply store. The concept was simple—three local moms (The MOMettes) would literally sing the praises of Party Time’s service and selection in three spots celebrating parade season, Halloween and the holidays.
The client agreed that the energy and whimsy of the concepts combined with the memorable music and lyrics were perfectly aligned with the Party Time brand and would have strong appeal with the local targeted audiences.
With our client’s enthusiastic approval, we set to work producing the parade season shoot. The production was conducted on a chilly January morning in Baton Rouge’s lush Garden District with over 50 extras representing local Mardi Gras krewes. It was a perfect day to capture the joy, revelry and unique look and feel of Baton Rouge’s version of Mardi Gras with toe-tapping music and just the right amount of zany.
The video exceeded our expectations and aired across all broadcast and digital channels to local viewers’ delight.
Party Time’s transaction count and sales numbers increased year-over-year in February. We were set to move forward with production of the Halloween and holiday spots, which would feature the MOMettes backed by numerous extras in various locations with group singing, choreography and multiple costume changes. The plan was ambitious, but with the success of the parade season spot behind us, we were ready to go bigger.
Then the pandemic hit.
The city shut down and stay-at-home orders were enacted. On March 19, our staff adapted to the “new normal” and began working remotely from home.
Party Time lost two months of revenue but remained committed to producing the new spots for the Halloween and holiday seasons.
We knew we needed to produce the remaining spots with the same energy and appeal of the parade season commercial, but we had to devise a way to produce them maintaining safety measures for the cast and crew.
It was an “all hands on deck” moment:
- Our copy team re-examined the original scripts and, inspired by the split-screen techniques often used in movie musicals, they drafted new scripts that would allow each cast member to be separately filmed against a green screen.
- Our video editing team conducted a test to see if this approach would work, and to everyone’s relief, it did.
- Our design team created storyboards, pulling together props, costumes, color palettes and set decorations.
We converted our office into a studio for the shoot, complete with hand sanitizing stations, temperature checks, separate dressing rooms for the cast, pre-wrapped snacks and strict masking and social distancing measures.
During a single weekend in early September, we captured all the footage we needed to produce the Halloween and holiday commercials without compromising safety for all involved.
The Halloween commercial was well-received, and Party Time enjoyed an incredible 45% increase in October sales with lines of shoppers stretching out of the door.
It is always heartwarming to know that the work we do helps our clients achieve their goals, especially during a time when we are all facing so much adversity. It is equally heartwarming to know that we are able to adapt and have a team of creative problem-solvers who can always find the right solutions.