17 April 2019 | Less than a minute to read
Smokeylemon’s first foray into television commercials was always going to be a giant leap for us as a company and one we knew we couldn’t do alone, but with a great story in hand and the help of some of NZ’s best animation and film production talent we’ve created exactly what we wanted to end up with… an ad that Kiwis would fall in love with.
When Latitude Homes CEO Marc Hunter came to us with the idea that they wanted to go National with a TV ad, Smokeylemon’s first challenge was to come up with a concept that would make the ad stand out from all of the other formulaic home building ads.
“In order to get cut through we knew had to come up with a concept that would make people fall in love with the brand. If we had based the ad on home features, build promises or celebrity endorsements all we would've been doing is wasting our clients money advertising the idea of “home building” rather than the stronger concept of giving Latitude Homes a meaningful connection to people’s desire to build a home” Smokeylemon Creative Director Ross Bennett says.
‘We have a love affair with characters that are smart, lovable and in some cases, a little vulnerable - This is how the Kiwi concept came into view.’
“When I think back to all the ads we’ve loved as a nation, there was Spot the Telecom dog, TVNZ’s Goodnight Kiwi, Toyota’s “bugger’ dog. We have a love affair with characters that are smart, lovable and in some cases, a little vulnerable - This is how the Kiwi concept came into view. Latitude Homes have a core belief ‘that every Kiwi should be able to afford a brand new home’. I took this core belief to a literal level and then started to craft a story that would create curiosity with the viewer, then empathy and finally the joy and feel good factor that comes with a happy ending.”
With the initial concept fleshed out and storyboard tucked under our little flightless wings we then spoke to a number of animation studios, retelling the story that we wanted to portray and received lots of enthusiastic feedback from the animators. “There is some fantastic talent out there in terms of both filmmaking and animation in New Zealand, in the end, we chose to contract The Rig to take our story and bring it to life.”
The Rig is a small but perfectly formed animation company based in Auckland. They were right on board with the concept and their art director Glen Atkins added some great additions to the story to help carry the motion and tempo of the ad. 30 secs is a very short time to tell a story so every split second counts, Glen’s added direction and scene location suggestions really helped to convey the emotion of the story.
The Rig carried out all of the animation and live filming, compositing the two together perfectly and oversaw the sound direction in conjunction with the sound team at Factory Studios.
At Smokeylemon we believe that to produce great advertising you really need to create a connection with the audience - you need to produce a great story. The ad was never going to be about house plans or materials. The story that we wanted to sell was one of home comforts. (10 points for spotting the name of the shop in the ad) We asked ourselves why do people build homes? For protection, to be somewhere safe and warm, to relax in at the end of their busy days, to take care of their families, these are the narratives that we wanted to weave into the story. The Kiwi fit the bill on many levels, a national symbol, a vulnerable but lovable creature and one that many New Zealanders want to see protected, it was a perfect choice to give the audience something that they wanted to see safely home.
‘Smokeylemon we believe that to produce great advertising you really need to create a connection with the audience - you need to produce a great story’
Once we had the concept Ross and Stu Sutherland, Smokeylemon’s designer, composed imagery in the form of a storyboard to convey the story into frames for filming, identifying specific location shots required and settings that would convey the emotions we wanted the kiwi to draw out of the audience.
It was a really smooth process, the client was agreeable with the concept, the story was strong and with the talent and direction of The Rig we managed to create the whole ad and deliver it on TV on Demand, YouTube and social channels in just under a month from the client signing off the storyboard.
The client is stoked with the final ad, as are we, and it gives us plenty to work with for the coming year or two. We love our little Latitude Homes Kiwi, and we look forward to bringing him into your homes more often, we really feel that the little guy exemplifies the feeling that Latitude Homes build places where Kiwis find comfort.