When Big Red approached us this spring about producing two videos for them, we were ecstatic about the opportunity to show off what we could do. They had looked at other crowdsourced video options, but had seen us mentioned in a Fast Company article about the “Future of Advertising” and wanted to know more. Before we knew it, the contract was signed, we were ready, and the creative brief went out to our community.
We had good feelings about the two spots we were producing for Big Red, and now that we’ve seen the final product, it seems those feelings were justified. These are without a doubt some of the best quality production we’ve ever seen on this kind of a budget, and each ad comes with a fantastic behind-the-scenes story. Let’s look at each ad one at a time, starting with “Rockstar.”
Once the production studio was chosen for “Rockstar,” we knew immediately we had not-your-average production on our hands. The location for the shoot? The world famous Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles. And the director? Former actor Billy Jayne, and also the voice of every vampire and monster special effects sound in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was a “rockstar” team. But don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself in the spot and behind-the-scenes videos embedded below.
“Rockstar” was shot during the day so as not to interfere with the Whisky’s evening shows, but Billy Jayne‘s team made the most of it, spending the entire day—from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.—at the Whisky filming. All went according to plan. An ad was placed on Craig’s List for extras, and more than 20 young actors showed up in character to fill all the remaining roles. Turns out the lighting guy even did lighting for The Doors, Crash, and even Inglourious Basterds.
Even a family of German tourists stumbled in for the filming and, entranced for the work being done, stuck around for over an hour to watch. By the time they left they were looking for bottles of Big Red and asking if it was available in the next city they were headed to, Louisville, Kentucky (hint: it is!).
Memphis May Fire, the band scheduled to perform at the Whisky that evening, even participated in the shoot. As our star actor mimicked playing the guitar with his violin bow, the real band provided music for our audience of extras to rock out to, adding to the authenticity of the atmosphere in the spot.
The production team didn’t shirk the details on the opening scene of the spot, either. It was actually filmed after the concert scene, the following day, in a real music classroom at Robert A. Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks, CA.
The second Big Red spot, lovingly called “Robin Hood” by the GeniusRocket team, was also filmed in downtown Los Angeles, and had a similarly impressive production team, 512 Media, with similarly impressive results. But again, don’t take our word for it. See for yourself:
“Robin Hood” was shot in one night, starting at about 8 p.m. and working all the way through 3:30 a.m. A local burrito shop even stayed open two hours late so the cast and crew could grab a bite while working hard through the night.
The “Robin Hood” production team, 512 Media, had an outstanding team with amazing stories, including a graphic artist who did digital animation on The Dark Knight, a crew working with RED cameras, and even a craft services employee who was a dating coach (you never know when you’ll need one of those).
The shoot went smoothly except for the lack of rain for the puddle needed in the spot. But it was a quick fix: the team brought in filtered water to create an artificial puddle in the alley—as GeniusRocket president Peter Lamotte put it, “the nicest puddle in all of LA.”
Be sure you check out Big Red’s YouTube page for more of their videos, and check our case studies page for more of our work. And of course, share this post on Facebook and Twitter using the links below!