Smith's Scoopfulls TV Spots
Client: Innis Maggiore/Smith's / Industry: Corporate / Completed: May 2022 / Location: Akron, OH
- Introduce Smith’s Scoopfulls Premium Ice Cream flavors to current and new customers via a local broadcast spot
- Showcase new Scoopfulls brand packaging and flavors
- Plan the video project around pre-created storyboards
- Coordinate and source location, talent, artists and props (Except product)
We were approached by a Northeast Ohio agency, Innis Maggiore, to work with them and their client, Smith’s, on a commercial spot to launch the new flavors in their recently-rebranded Smith’s Scoopfulls (previously known as Ruggles) line of products.
To kick off the project, we met with Innis Maggiore for a meeting to make sure our team understood the overall needs of the client and the vision of the project. During this meeting, we were given client-approved storyboard visuals, as well as a finalized script and voiceover track.
With these items in hand, our team started into the pre-production and planning work.
Location and Talent Sourcing
The two most important items to start were finding a suitable location for this shoot and also the right talent. The location needed to be a studio space large enough to accommodate an elaborate camera and lighting setup and approximately 10-12 people on set at any given time, plus a sizable backdrop. We ended up selecting Creative House Studios in Cleveland, OH. It met all the above requirements, but also featured a kitchen space for ice cream and a green room for talent.
We knew we needed four different actors for the spot. Two adults and two children that could convey a mixed-race family. We worked with a local company to find options that were then sent to the client for final approval. The client also provided mood boards with the select talent options that were used to develop final looks for hair, makeup and wardrobe with the Makeup Artist.
Finding a Food Artist
We knew that the ice cream was also an incredibly important part of the whole project and we knew it had to look great on camera. Shooting with food is always tricky, and ice cream is no exception, especially through multiple takes under the hot lights. We were able to bring in an extremely talented Food Stylist with the experience necessary to make sure the product looked beautiful (and delicious!) all day long.
Lighting and Background Tests
Prior to being in the shoot space, our team used our own studio as a test area for the background and lighting options. After some initial trials, it was decided that the best solution for backgrounds was paper backdrops, and four total colors were ordered, one for each flavor or ice cream that was being featured.
Once the colored backdrops were in the studio, our team planned out the lighting setup using the exact gear that would be used and grabbed test footage for both Innis Maggiore and Smith’s to see before the shoot.
Sliding Rig Construction
The main practical effect required for the shot was having the ice cream bowl slide into the frame and stop directly in front of the seated person each time. While a person pushing the bowl could probably get it close, it was decided that a more consistent solution was needed.
Our team ended up custom-fabricating a slingshot-style rig that allowed the bowl to be cradled by a large elastic band and, with a 3D-printed handle, be pulled back to the same spot each time and released. The release point could be tweaked as needed to ensure the bowl moved the correct distance across the surface. This allowed for practice with each actor and an easy, repeatable action on every take.
Ice Cream Delivery
A few days prior to the shoot, our team was prepared to accept delivery of 60+ cartons of Smith’s Scoopfulls ice cream. A freezer was rented so that the ice cream could be temporarily stored at PEG, transported to the studio, and kept on set for the entirety of the shoot.
Thanks to all the prep work that was done leading up to filming, the shoot days themselves ran smoothly and on time. The large studio space allowed everyone involved in the process – from the Makeup Artist to the Food Artist, to the talent, to the client, to the crew – to have their own area on set.
This piece was shot on our RED cinema camera, with various Aputure lights used in the setup. The app-controlled Aputure lights made changing lighting on talent and the different background colors easy and efficient during set changes. Remote headsets also maximized efficiency, allowing members of the crew to be in constant contact with the Account Manager who was stationed at a viewing monitor with the client.
Our team made sure to check in regularly with the client throughout the day to ensure everyone was happy with the overall look of the footage being captured.
During breaks between filming on set, our team also handled foley (supplemental sound effects) that would be needed during the post-production process. Different options were captured of sliding bowls and clinking spoons so we had accurate clips to add into the final edit.
Getting The Cherry on Top
The hardest shot was (literally) getting the cherry on top of the ice cream for the final shot. The bowl had to slide into frame, landing perfectly underneath a cherry that was hanging from a clothespin above. Our team had practiced and put measures in place to help control the environment, but with that many moving parts, it came down to repetition and a little luck! We were able to successfully grab the shot, with no special effects or post-production needed.
Pre-planning and prep work paid off again during the editing process. The client-provided storyboards served as an easy-to-follow template for the initial video edit. Our team was able to seamlessly piece together the footage in Adobe Premiere Pro and added in the flavor name animations that were created in After Effects, creating a fun and colorful final product.
During the process, Innis Maggiore was able to work with our team and finesse animations and timings in-person at the PEG office in our private editing suite. This minimized back and forth and made sure everyone was on the same page during the final edit phase.
In the end, we created a :15 and a :30 spot for the Smith’s Scoopfulls launch campaign. Both the agency, Innis Maggiore, and the final client, Smith’s, were very happy with the final commercials.
They were used in both local broadcast placements and online, with large viewing audiences in both locations. Due to the success, the campaign was expanded to run for an additional year using these cornerstone spots.