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Why Locations are Important for Food & Beverage Commercials

A Case Study On Producing TV Advertisements For a Supermarket Grocery Chain

Shooting actual locations for food & beverage commercials where farmers raise meat usually involves so much red tape that in the end the opportunities to shoot real scenic footage are limited.  There is so much scrutiny in the meat & produce industry regarding protocol and food safety. This campaign for Martin's Supermarket had these challenges and a clear directive: help a large regional grocer communicate just how much care they put into stocking the freshest, local produce and sourcing the most extensive wild, free-range meat selections.  

For this food & beverage commercial, we were able to do extensive location sourcing to try and tell the real story -- local, wild and free-range farms were real and a tangible place we could potentially film. Watch the tv spots below, and then read more to see if we were able to make the locations work in the television ad campaign.

Watch "Wild", shot and finished in 4K

How Storyboards turn into Locations

There are a couple of different processes to decide which locations work best in a television commercial.  One way is to work with a storyboard artist and create scenes from your imagination, which you then try and match by doing a location scout based on the drawings. This method is used frequently when the tv ad creative is conceptual in nature. 

A second way is to find the locations first, next take pictures of ideal angles and shot ideas, and then storyboard the creative for the tv advertisement based on the preferred locations. The latter method is used often when filming actual locations that are authentic to the concept, making the television commercial creative based within these parameters.

Parameters usually don’t hinder, but to the contrary, parameters can often stimulate even better creative decisions.

For this food & beverage advertising commercial, we used the former method.  These ads were Directed by Jeremy Pinckert, who worked with an artist to bring out the creative commercial ideas he had in his mind to life in storyboard form.  We then worked on finding the locations based on these storyboards.  Here are the locations we used, and an explanation of why locations mattered in this food & beverage commercial ad campaign:

"Wild" Ad, Scene 2: Pig Farm

For this scene, we had to find a small farm who lets their pigs roam free, and one where we could get open fields and sky in the background to match the creative storyboard frame.  We wanted open land, rolling hills and green grass.  Shooting December 7th in Indiana there was no guarantee, but we were able to find locations that fit the storyboards. This scene took a bit of work, and the location didn't get locked in until the day before, but we were able to work with a pork provider who had the perfect farm.  The location scout lesson here?  Never compromise creative, as long as there are no legal or act of God barriers in your way, keep working with your location scout to find exactly what you want, and the universe will open doors up for your commercial advertising production.  Another lesson? Amazingly, trying to corral and wrangle a few pigs is far, far harder than 20,000 chickens. Just saying.  

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"Wild" Ad, Scene 3: Free-Range Chicken House

Our client uses an organic chicken grower who utilizes over 100 different small Amish farms to grow their free-range chickens.  The challenge in finding this location was adapting the storyboards for the snowy, cold December day we needed to film.  Chicken safety doesn't allow for chickens to be outside when the weather is below 60 degrees.  But by finding a location where we could open the door, keeping the chickens safe and warm, we were able to capture a scene which was even more attractive despite the parameters. The lesson here?  Parameters usually don't hinder, but to the contrary, parameters can often stimulate even better creative decisions!

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"Wild" Ad, Scene 5:  Grocery Store Meat Department

Choosing a location to shoot the meat department scenes in our grocery television commercial wasn't difficult in one sense: we knew we could use our client's actual store.  Because they are a large grocery store chain, however, we had dozens of options to choose from in our shooting radius.  You'd be surprised how different one grocery store can be from another.  For these scenes, we wanted to capture more than just a typical grocery shelf scene.  Our wide shot needed to showcase the architecture and amazing environment the supermarket had to offer, but still have the meat preparation areas to get our food shots.  Our location manager found this store and the rest is tv ad history!

Watch "Fresh" to see Why Location Matters in Food & Beverage Commercials 

"Fresh" Ad, Kitchen Scenes

For the kitchen scenes in our food & beverage commercial for a grocery store chain, we wanted to find a home location that felt clean, fresh and modern, but also had a comfortable feel.  Through our location manager and then on the subsequent scout, we were able to find a home location that not only checked off all of our needs, but was also gorgeous with plenty of room for food prep as well! 

Now that you've seen the storyboard and location evidence for why locations matter for food & beverage commercials, we hope you're able to go plan, produce, direct, edit and finish some great-looking television commercials of your own.  And if you're a Marketing Director or Agency Creative reading this and you want to inquire a little further into Explore Media's Handcrafted Commercials & Video Production, you can contact our Midwest representative, Sarah Gitersonke.

Take a look below at the behind the scenes photos of our awesome crew & locations for this 3-day shoot!

Get a behind the scene look at the production of "Fresh" and "Wild"!

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