Date: July 2012

Type: Interactive Pre Roll

Client: AirWick

Role: Concept Development, On-set Consultation, UX, Art Direction, Motion Graphics, Compositing, 

After pushing the client team at ReckittBenckiser over my first year to take better advantage of their online video media buy and make a truly interactive advert with the narrative entwined, I finally got the go ahead in their "Fall" campaign. This was my first stateside production, first time consulting and directing on a large commercial set. It went on to win an award from Ad Age and fundamentally changed the way our clients perceived interactive video and how our partner agencies dealt with our studio.

Preproduction

The AirWick account team at Euro RSCG (now Havas Worldwide) had almost finalised the storyboards for the TVC when we were brought on to plan for the online pre-roll adaptation. We had to concept an idea to work within the confines of the narrative and the production schedule, that emphasised the campaign message through the interaction.

The TVC was focused on showing that AirWick was inspired by real scents in nature and featured an AirWick explorer capturing aromas in an Autumnal forest. Our team decided to focus on the explorer and the action of capturing the "natural" scents.

We came up with the best way to shoot, break apart and then reconstruct the footage with code to make the interaction feel as "real" as possible. I made this explainer video to demonstrate our plan to Euro and they were convinced.

Production

The set location was in a beautiful old Rockefeller estate in New Jersey. Red and yellow leaves were imported in to make the summer scene look like Fall and a trusty labrador was on hand to complete the homely trifecta.

After travelling across the Atlantic, I was given less than 15 minutes to use the set and crew to get the shots we required! Crucially however they were attained, as well as extra plates of the background and falling leaves to fill out the back and foreground.

An excerpt from the shots to capture the natural flight of falling leaves.

An excerpt from the shots to capture the natural flight of falling leaves.

Development

We received the footage ungraded to speed up the process, so that the post on the TVC and development on OLV could be happen concurrently. On my side, I had a huge compositing job, rotoscoping the explorer from the background, then separating his head, hands and body and finding and merging the best loops in the footage that would make him appear "alive" rather than a static image. I then oversaw the look, style and feel of the code development of the interaction itself and particle system, before finally designing the UI that would grab the user's attention without spoiling the composition of a tiny 640x360 live ad.

Results

The ad went out on a huge media buy across tens of millions of impressions and achieved a far higher rate of interaction than industry average. We then entered the video into an Ad Age competition for innovation in online video, where it won a Special Mention award and the strongest accolade of praise from the industry judges amongst any of the entries.

Below is a screencapture of the final advert being interacted with.