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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : September 2010
37 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010 CAMPAIGNBRIEF BRANDED CONTENT 36 CAMPAIGNBRIEF SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010 Managing the collision of 8 cute but precocious kids and 8 potentially temperamental artists during a four-week shoot conjures nightmarish variables for all but the sturdiest creative types. But Summer Agnew is not your typical director. “It was an exciting chal- lenge to solve” says Summer. An art school graduate and experi- enced with kids, having shot award-winning TV series in New Zealand, Summer is a commer- cials director with an impressive portfolio of polished long-format and branded content behind him. Angus Hennah, ECD at JWT, says this made Summer an obvious contender for ‘8 Colours of Fun’, a webisode series created by JWT for Smarties, which is one of the most noteworthy branded series to launch this year. (It’s also the biggest advertising campaign that Nestle has launched for Smarties in five years.) “This campaign is all about the content: it had to be fantastic and you had to want to spend time with it. At its core it’s all about Smarties Curious, the production company behind a double Grand Prix whammy at Cannes this year is back with the biggest branded content debut of 2010 for Smarties via JWT Sydney filling kids’ worlds with moments of inspiration, but we wanted some- thing that would speak to mums over time. Now if we want to build up a community or following around this campaign, then we can gradually step it up,” he says. “We looked at a few directors but Summer had a real understanding of long-form content, he’s worked with children before, his content looks good visually, and there weren’t many directors I could name off the top of my head that could achieve all those things.” Blair Kimber, art director at JWT, says ‘8 Colours of Fun’ is definitely the biggest branded content piece he’s made to date. “This has been our life for about four months,” says Kimber, who says he and copy- writer Simon Armour came up with the bare bones of the idea some- time around March or April this year. It start- ed with kids; the artists came later. “That joy of colouring and creating is such a natural part of being a kid, but we lose this as we get older. We thought it could be interesting if we created some- thing that caused parents to interact with Smarties colours just as they interacted with colour as a kid and, make this something they could share with their own kids.” says Armour. “The idea of getting artists involved was the next step. Artists are usually quite insular in terms of how they work, so we thought putting them with kids could create an interesting dynamic. As soon as we saw the casting, we thought, ‘We’re onto something here.’” All branded content campaigns contain unknown variables, but throw kids and artists into the mix and the question marks multiply. What if the artworks created by the artists were average? What if there was no rapport on screen? Was Nestle nervous about handing over their blessings, and leaving the agency and director alone over a 4- week shoot? Kimber says there was already buckets of trust between JWT and Nestle, which made it more a mat- ter of eliminating some of the vari- ables during the casting and pre-pro process. “That’s where Summer came into it. He has connections in the art world, that’s sort of his playground. So it was really about working out a plan of attack.” “Summer felt confident he could get the right artists and kids, so it was about giving him enough free- dom to take the idea and work with it. As a creative, you can try to hang onto things too much, but working with Summer and using his experi- ence allowed this to be very collab- orative.” For Agnew, it was important to empower the kids so they felt like they were in charge when it came to filming. “The most important thing as a director was finding kids that we knew were capable of surprising us,” he says. “It was about giving the kids ability to guide the content of the artists’ work. This is an unusual proposition, but one the artists really responded to as they saw the opportunity to explore an unfiltered, childlike take on the world. As we grow older, that view changes, whereas kids come at things from a different point of view,” says Agnew. Did any of the kids turn into little brat monsters when the cameras were on? “I’ve done my time with kids and I guess I know when to be firm,” he says. “It’s pretty daunting process for kids so you have to make it fun, something they want to be doing. One of the girls, Phoebe, turned into the shiest kid in the world when the camera was on, until I discovered she just needed to speak through her teddy bear. As soon as she knew she was allowed to talk through the bear, she really came to life. In terms of working with Hennah, Armour and Kimber, Agnew says: “The guys really understand that to create this kind of content, it’s got to be watchable. You may be docu- menting something real, but you’ve got to shape it – the goal is to pro- vide a piece of entertainment and it was really cool to be working with a team that got behind that freedom to roll with it”. As for the client, Nestle, “It was a really interesting process in that respect because the nature of it meant that it needed to be an inti- mate production. JWT got the client on board so that they were really excited about the project, and excited about letting us all do our thing.” In August, JWT aired the first episode of ‘8 colours of fun’ and the remaining episodes were cut and ready to go live a week later. The obvious question is, what’s next? It feels like ‘8 Colours of Fun’ could be just the beginning of a much larger long-running cam- paign. Armour reckons Agnew must have shot more than 70 hours of footage, and lots more during casting. Hennah says they’re mak- ing the song composed for the colour ‘blue’ by musician Raymond available for download, but hints other campaign extensions might be considered over the next year. “The great thing about creating content over time,” says Hennah, “is that new opportunities will emerge as the work is received. Flexibility was always key to making the most out of this idea.” Kimber says with so much user generated content available, brand- ed content has to feel natural. “Otherwise people can sniff the bullshit”. Summer, who is clearly a director at the forefront of new media trends, agrees adding that branded content is an exciting world to navi- gate: “I’m currently working on an online scripted drama with develop- ment funding from Screen NSW. Integrating a product or commer- cial objectives into entertainment whilst retaining a sense of natural- ism – that’s a tricky thing to do, but that’s why it’s so exciting.” Agency: JWT Sydney ECD: Angus Hennah Creative team: Simon Armour and Blair Kimber Head of TV: Gerri Hamill Agency Producer: Renata Barbosa Account Management: Paul Coles (GAD), Fiona Tenaglia, Anna Swinburne Director: Summer Agnew Producer: Tara Riddell Executive Producer: Peter Grasse Production Company: Curious www.curiousfilm.com SUMMER TIME FOR SMARTIES Summer Agnew: “It was an exciting challenge to solve” Angus Hennah, ECD at JWT, says Summer was an obvious contender for ‘8 Colours of Fun’, a webisode series created by JWT for Smarties, which is one of the most noteworthy branded series to launch this year.
May June 2010