We'll break down the process of creating an ad campaign for your clients. In this case we are working with brand new gifting company called "The Bouquet Bar" who want to re-invent the art of gifting and put attention back into the selection process, the packaging and the quality of the actual gift.
In this case we had some information on the company but as you can imagine we really didn't have much, as the company is brand new and not even a website or social media handle to research had been launched. In addition to being brand new, this was their reshoot campaign. A creative team before did a great job but just didn't hit the mark. Add to pressure of everything, now you have budgets that are thin because this is technically their second shoot.
You can look at this as an obstacle or a clear path for your creative. Lets look at the good and the bad.
BAD: You don't have anything to follow. You could completely miss the mark and turn the client off from the inception of the project. You don't have any way to measure successes and failures in the past with this brand. Did the audience want mostly females or male models? Are they professionals or guys buying gifts for their ladies? You better do a great job, because this is their second shoot and with most startups the budgets are delicate and every dollar is important.
GOOD: I don't have a track record and I technically don't have to follow anyone's work! This a great thing and if anyone else shoots the next campaign, they'll have to follow MY lead. This is good! They also had a previous shoot, which means they're ready for something different and I should give them that. This is an opportunity to take the lead and be more involved creatively. So I'll give them something different than what they had...but what the heck is "different"!?
Well I start with the first step on every project whether it's a recording artist or brand. You need something called the 5 W's.
STEP 1: The 5 W's
This is THE step to cover when approaching a client. In college I studied history and it's how I passed my exams. Every topic has its own 5 W's and that's where I learned this trick. When you know the 5 W's, you're covered! You have the entire history to base your decisions on. By asking the client to cover each topic, you will have all the tools you need. Review below and see how it is done. Examples of each are below... In this case, the client was more than happy to share the information and give me all the tools I needed to succeed.
- Who started the project?
- Who is the product intended for?
- Who will purchase the product?
- What are they selling?
- hat is the purpose of the ad?
- What are you trying to convey to the audience?
- When is the product launch?
- When is the shoot date (ideally)
- hen are the final images due?
- When are vision boards due?
- Where are you selling the product (web/store)?
- Where will the advertising live?
- Where (Domestic/Int'l) is the product available?
- Why did you create the product?
- Why are you shooting/reshooting?
- Why do you feel men/women would appreciate the project?
- Why are you different than the competition?
STEP 2: The Vision Board
The vision board is your roadmap to a successful shoot! This is also your team huddle, it's the one thing that will put EVERYONE on the same page. I can say blue, but you won't know exactly which tone of blue until I put it on the board. I can say "morning light" but you won't know where the light is coming from, where the light will illuminate until you see it on the board. I can say "happy vibe" and you'll get close but you won't know if it's Coachella girl doing flips or woman on the couch reading a good book with a smile. This is the guideline and backbone to the entire shoot. I posted pages from my vision board to Bouquet Bar. Normally my vision boards are 5-6 pages long. This is probably double and I was happy to take the time because it's my first relationship with the company. It's their second shoot and we needed to reassure the client and aim for perfection. Finally, we had newer team members like the publicity team and the entire glam squad. For that reason it was well worth all the extra pages and they all performed perfectly.
hat makes a successful vision board? To remind you of step 1, it must include the 5 W's. Who are the models, where are we shooting, what is the mood & lighting, when are we doing each setup , why certain colors or locations, etc... it must also answer other questions like color tones, locations, props, etc... For the makeup artist she needs to this prepare her pack. The stylist needs this to shop for the wardrobe. Based on how his office looks, you can judge the type of attire he'll be wearing. Based on the way the kitchen is and the colors, you can see how she'll fit with her outfits. When you see the final images, you'll realize there were NO ACCIDENTS. Every item in that frame was placed on purpose. The vision board is our starting ground and it's what brought this entire project together.
Sure we had many questions after the vision board, but they all stemmed from one document and kept us within the perimeters.
STEP 3: The Location and the Models
For the Bouquet Bar campaign, we wanted to tell the story of the brand through the models and location booked. In this particular scenario we decided (after the 5 W's process) that the viewer should see the campaign in the following order.
1. Oh, that's a beautiful photograph. Everything looks so clean and fresh (like the product), everything looks high end but still affordable (like the brand), and it's so simple. I love the simplicity! (Like the brand)
2. Look at that pop of orange, which is the eye-catching color of the entire Bouquet Bar collection. The orange box isn't always front and center, it's in the background because the people who give/accept the Bouquet Bar live a certain lifestyle. They appreciate the finer things in life, and know the art of gifting.
3. They blend in perfectly with the surroundings. The only pop of color is the box or the product, and it's never in your face. It's never 100% the star of the photograph. The lifestyle is the star, and model/location come in secondary. The models are the 3rd thing we wanted you to notice, so we opted for beautiful people but not unattainable beauty. They are not runway models, but everyday beautiful people. They can be me and you.
Having said that, we wanted a home with beautiful natural light. Everything about it should lend itself to a nice spring day, natural beauty. The products inside the Bouquet Bar box are natural and of high quality. The setting should reflect that. The models should reflect someone parallel the lifestyle. We were looking for models who take walks with their dog vs. drink coffee and smoke cigarettes.
Home: We picked a home that had neutral tones, earthy colors and served as a canvas for the setting and orange box. We wanted a home that had light coming from multiple directions to get the most natural light in there and create vibrant spring-like images. We wanted the morning sun and the evening sun, because this was 100% natural light type of shoot, no flash whatsoever. We wanted a home that had minimal decor.
Model: The female had to look both the part of a young creative executive, and also a young mom. She was friendly, took care of herself but not over-the-top on any facets of her life. She was your girl-next-door who is in control of her life. The male model needed to look like an executive that worked in a relaxed setting but also in the same age bracket of the female, because they might be a romantic couple in some of the images. For that reason we went to Adeline and Gabriel. Both had that look, the professional resemblance & casual features we needed.
When picking the models, I sat with the company owners Sal, David, and Alex as we went over all the possibilities from the agency. We had asked a couple agencies to send girls/guys based on our requirements. We asked one LA agency and one Orange County agency. Based on the package sent over, it was the OC agency that we went with (Brand Model and Talent) because we found that the OC agency catered more to the lifestyle models, and the LA ones catered to fashion and look books.
Selecting the final models is an intimate process. We sat in Sal's office and had a tab open to every single model's page. We looked at everything from "do they look trustworthy" to "how many emotions can he/she give". We felt confident with our final choices because they had many factors we hoped to cover.
- Can they look professional?
- Can they look good lounging at home?
- Can they look like a couple together and also stand out by themselves?
- Do they look trustworthy?
- Do they offer more than one look in their portfolio (sexy, happy, conservative, playful, etc.)
- Do they more than a handful of shoots in their portfolio? (New models cost a lot of time, as they require more direction from the photographer. Because this was a winter shoot, we were limited on daylight and had to go with the most versed talent).
Based on those factors, we opted for Adeline and Gabriel who both turned out to be fantastic and professional choices for the entire production! Here are some of their looks from their book.
It helped to book both models from one agency, as it makes negotiations easier. Hiring two from one agency helps with booking rates vs. just hiring one model. It's always a balancing game and the agency was fantastic enough to work with us.
As a review, the home needed to serve as a blank canvas. It shouldn't have a distinct decor, but more of a canvas that can easily mold to what we needed.
Below you can see some of the portfolio images from Adeline and Gabriel that theIR agency PRESENTED