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Production events: the solution to tighter budgets

With an array of social channels to cover, each with their own definition of success, as well as a continued squeeze on budgets and timelines, we’re seeing more and more social briefs centred around efficiency.

Requirements such as these demand us to think smart and approach productions creatively. Our work with Diageo’s Talisker is a prime example of this. As their global agency of record, we are responsible for a range of content from above-the-line brand comms to capturing content around events and launches, as well as 'always-on' social. In a recent trip to Iceland, we combined a social shoot with an AV production, capturing content that equips Talisker with a bank of assets for the year ahead. 


For those marketeers thinking about social content, below are some key learnings on how to achieve quantity without compromising on quality, following our own recent shoot with Talisker.


Plan a production event

In order to save costs, production was approached as an 'event', rather than multiple shoots in different locations. This meant we were on location for a number of days to capture an entire bank of footage - shots for the campaign and multiple iterations. For us, that meant active involvement and, in some cases, getting on your hands and knees to get the perfect shot. Each member of the slim team had a role that leant itself to agile content capture.


Agree content pillars

Rather than create rigid storyboards that couldn't possibly predict the next 12 months worth of social trends, we identified 4 content pillars to reference throughout the shoot. Based on the intersection of audience behaviour and brand strategy, the team was tasked with capturing any content that would be relevant to each theme. Informed by strategies we knew worked well, the pillars allowed us to capture content in a more opportunistic way. They covered things like key product messages, occasions and drinking moments, as well as broader audience passion points that we had indentified as part of the brand strategy.


Put simply, we came out of the shoot with a bank of modular content that we’re able to adapt to the trends on each social platform at any specific time.


Pre-planning is a major part of the success of any production event, but it proved even more fruitful when we didn’t have a set list to follow. Everything was short-listed prior to shoot, other than the b-reel content captured on iPhone, which will be used and interspersed with the BAU and social specific content. This allowed for creative freedom and efficiency.


Split the squad: A team vs. B team

When dealing with smaller budgets it's essential to keep the team tight and efficient. On site we had an A team and a B-unit team working both together and in parallel to capture a volume of content within the guide pillars. Whilst the A Team was focused on the VOD/AV shoot, our B team was there to capture social footage. 


Our A team captured content on a steadicam, focusing on the planned content and VOD, whilst the B team used a mixture of GoPro’s and mobile phones to capture BAU shots inspired by the content pillars.


The social unit would either travel with the main AV team, capturing content alongside the planned shots, or travel to separate locations to capture planned social content. The footage for social was captured on an iPhone by Fold7’s internal social team, or with a more traditional camera by the director’s team.


“Due to the small, agile nature of the teams, we were able to shoot at up to 6 locations per day, working both in tandem and separately from the A team”, Izy Brand, Junior Producer.

Go beyond the brief

When working in this way the teams were constantly on the lookout to capture extra content outside of the plan. Our rolling B cam allowed us to capture iphone footage that will be used as BAU content for the whole year. 


For Talisker, the weather conditions allowed us to catch some wonderful shots unexpectedly that then became core assets in the market toolkit. So, thanks very much to Iceland for scheduling some sunshine during the shoot!


The ‘event’ approach to social production is the perfect way to ensure you have enough content for all your needs and platforms, whilst also being cost effective. Having created 6x films, of varying time-lengths and captured 12 months worth of content alongside this (to be used to create BAU content), on a single shoot, Talisker now has their social bank sorted for an entire year.

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