The ‘baking of’ our Border Biscuits TVC
Just as great biscuits take time to bake, so too do TV commercials. Our animated ad for Border Biscuits – which heroes in their first UK-wide advertising campaign – was in the oven for over 6 months.
We first pitched the ‘Border Biscuitiers Bake Better Biscuits’ campaign back in summer last year. With a nostalgic nod to childhood TV favourites of our target biscuit lover like Trumpton and Camberwick Green, it brings to life the world of the ‘Biscuitiers’. These small but heroic animated characters embody the passion of Border staff for baking better biscuits, which we witnessed first-hand during our immersion at the factory. They honestly love what they do and love what they make. Our script showed them through a ‘day in the life’ of the top-selling Dark Chocolate Ginger, from the mixing to the baking, topping and, crucially – the taste-testing!
Script agreed, it was time to craft how our Biscuitiers looked. How would we make them familiar to our target audience yet ownable to Border? Every detail was meticulously debated and designed; from the texture of their jackets to the sparkle in their eyes, hairstyles and facial characteristics. And 3D renders created to allow every detail to be perfected before animation began. The profiles of 7 characters were built out to become our virtual spokespeople across PR, digital and social media. Each one represents a different role at Border; from Otto the warehouse manager, seen operating the seemingly JCB-sized Kitchen Aid, to Head Buyer Kate, seen obsessing over ingredients.
The next stage was live action footage to help show our Biscuitiers in the realistic world of a development kitchen at the Border factory. The cinematography treatment was intentionally bright, warm and natural to enhance the feel-good factor of the commercial, with natural sunlight flooding onto the set (even in a Scottish location…). Camera angles and lens dramatized the miniature scale of the Biscuitiers and heroed the biscuits. Location dressing was carefully planned; clean white tiling and stainless steel worktops to mimic a development kitchen enhanced with the retro sensibilities of props like Kilner jars and Orla Kiely kitchen accessories, complementing the new packaging and appealing to the lifestyles of our target audience. And of course, we showcased the finest ingredients that go into the biscuits like fiery root ginger and dark cocoa. The foodie cues were captured through the puff cloud of flour, rising of the dough and drizzling of the chocolate – all filmed, and human hands later edited out! One oven was indeed harmed (in fact, sawed in half) in the making of the commercial, but all leading to one mouth-watering call to action.
Once we had our live surroundings, our next ingredient was movement of the Biscuitiers. Animation blocking – the white-out effect seen in our ‘baking of’ film – was used to test and modify the actions and positions of the characters early on. It was crucial to get the speed and style of movement just right through CGI; slightly staccato to mimic the stop-motion effect of nostalgic childhood programmes and signal the hand crafting of the biscuits, yet smooth enough to come across as a modern brand. Testing and refinement was done at length. The production team then composited the shots and edited together the real and animated worlds. At this stage, the commercial really started to progress, shot by shot, and excitement ensued as we saw the characters develop and interact with their surroundings. Once the animation stage was complete, the edit was given a vignette look with warm lighting to provoke a sense of nostalgia.
Just as crucial as how the commercial looked was how it sounded, to help build audio recall of the ad and its alliterative strapline (‘Border Biscuitiers Bake Better Biscuits’). Challenged with the fact that our Biscuitiers wouldn’t speak, the commentary coming from above their miniature world was crucial, and we cast Derek Griffiths; the warm and familiar voice from Play School. Fun was then had in the recording studio, with the production team recording giggles, murmurs and cheers for sound effects of the Biscuitiers.
Add the finishing touches of the grade and sound dub, and voilà – our commercial was ready.
So what bakes a better TV commercial? Well a great production team, including the talented Director Ben Craig, Producer Ray Allen and teams at M2 films and Morphic animation. But more importantly, brave and collaborative clients at Border Biscuits who trusted in this new campaign and let us guide them on the journey. Catch the Biscuitiers on TV throughout spring, supported by press, outdoor, digital advertising and our new website. The proof is in the pudding (or rather, biscuit) and the Biscuitiers are already delivering commercial results, opening up listings in national multiple retailers.
Watch the full commercial here.
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