The Director's Cut: Top 6 tips for bringing a Redrow home and community to life
When you only have 30 seconds to tell a story, how do you tell it well? 'They Say…' needed to break perceptions and sell the Redrow brand in a way that no other housebuilder had ever tried, and it had to do it quickly. If that challenge fell to you, what would you do?
Our ad director Dan Harris talks us through his process, and gives us his top six tips for bringing the Redrow vision to life, on film.
1. Think about what you want to achieve
The first thing you must consider, when filming any ad, is how best to represent the brand while bringing their ethos to the screen in an impactful and effective way. For this project, Redrow wanted to change the public's perceptions of new build homes, showcasing their premium status – and that was something we had to bear in mind from the start of the process, right to the finish.
One of the first big decisions we had to make was whether to recreate a Redrow home as accurately as possible, or to actually film on location in a Redrow property. We decided that keeping things as real as possible was important, so we decided to film in a real Redrow show home. After all, the whole point was to do something different, to tell a story about people and their characters rather than a house, but still show off the features of the house in the process. To do that, on location was the best bet.
2. Make as many considerations as you can pre-production
There are so many things to consider before you start shooting. For this, the casting was very, very important. So much more so than it usually is for this kind of ad. We had to ask if they fitted with the brand, but also with the brief and the story of 'breaking perceptions'.
We also had to think about several tech considerations, including how to film at night while looking natural, and filming inside a residential building as opposed to a studio. We had to make sure we had the right equipment, and that it was light and versatile enough to operate indoors, but still powerful enough for outdoors, at night.
Art direction was another critical factor that took a lot of planning. We went through the entire set with a fine-toothed comb. Everything had to be perfect, and be fully balanced between what the characters would have had their homes like, and correctly representing Redrow. It was important that we conveyed character, without being too eccentric, for example.
3. Cast for character
The casting process was quite rigorous. We had the narrative, so we knew the characters we were looking for. But we also had Redrow's own marketing personas. The two had to be broken down and combined to get what we were looking for, both creatively and poetically. They had to both look right, and feel right, for both Redrow and the narrative. And they had to have the right personality too.
Take the lead character, Kirsty. We all decided she was the best candidate to represent the Redrow brand, and lead the campaign. She had enough aspirational appeal and charisma, but was still friendly and warm. Subtle, not brash. Understated, yet very powerful. And also perhaps not someone you would expect to own a new build home, which was a big part of the overall point.
4. Make it believable
For me, making the Redrow house into a home was all down to the set dressing and the lighting. Inside the scenes had to be very warm and rich, and the sets use of colour was important to really inject life into the scenes, giving them a real homely, community feel. And, of course, the cast carried it the rest of the way. We had to make sure we have faces, and personalities, that people can relate to. Redrow's 'hidden' demographics – the aspirational, yet relatable.
5. Look at what the competition is doing – and do the opposite
If you were to watch standard home ads, you'd probably notice that they were mostly, if not entirely, very high key. Brand, crisp and clean, and really very clinical. Redrow are different, and this ad is very different.
When you watch it, it doesn't feel like an ad for homes straight away, which creates a little intrigue. It uses low-key lighting and it's narrative-led. It has that premium feel, as opposed to that white clinical finish. It really stands out from other homebuilders ads, everything looks and feels different. It means we can properly convey the difference of the Redrow brand.
6. Come together – all of you
It was a challenging shoot with lots of different, and often changing, considerations to make. But we worked as a big community on set. We were one team as we shot, and in the days surrounding it.
The residents of the development we were shooting on were a part of our little community too. They helped out wherever they could, and made our lives so much easier. It was a real testament to what the people, and the communities, of Redrow are really like.
To watch ‘They Say…’ and learn more about why Redrow really do make new homes like no other head to redrow.co.uk/They Say.