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Advert production: From conception to completion

One of the aspects of what we do here at Pace that excites us the most is the advert production end of things. It’s when we get to let our creative juices run wild and help our clients see their product or service come to life on the small screen.


So we’ve asked our Production department to give us a rundown of what it takes to make stand out TV ad. If you think we can help you in bringing your idea to reality get in touch HERE or call us on 020 3567 1096.


From conception to completion


Where on earth do you begin when you want to have an advert made?


The short answer is, that there is no short answer. There are simply too many factors to consider…


Do you have an existing brand identity that you want to build on, or are you going to create something from scratch?
What angle do you go for – something comedic, or something more informative?
Live action or animation?


But like any production job, when you start to break it down into different stages, it suddenly begins to feel achievable.


There are 4 main stages when creating any video production – conception, pre-production, production itself, and finally post-production. Depending on how large the project is, these stages can be different in size and importance.


Over the coming weeks we’ll be breaking down the processes we go through using a recent advert we made as an example, the popular mobile game Criminal Case.



So this week we’ll start with Conception


At the start of any project, we’re generally given a brief by the client. It could be a concept that needs refining, or simply a selection of past examples to imitate – most of the time, it falls somewhere between the two.


With Criminal Case the game had already been available on the app store for some time, meaning we already had some assets at our disposal – character designs, location images, etc. Our challenge was to use these in a way that would bring the game to life.


We were briefed by the client that their main aim was to draw more attention to the game’s availability, and added content. This meant targeting multiple countries (Canada and the UK), and building a concept that would appeal to the game’s demographic (25 to 45 year olds, with a split based 60:40 in favour of Women).
So with all this in mind, we began to discuss concepts……


At this stage we’ve now done quite a few adverts for mobile games, recent examples including Rival Kingdoms and Endless Legend, so we know what works and what doesn’t. In both these adverts we primarily used gameplay footage with a few additional visuals from in-game cut-scenes – we find that adverts like this achieve good results as you get a nice overall picture of what you can expect should you download it. However, Criminal Case offered us a different challenge. The gameplay varied so much within the game that we decided it would be better to create a clearer narrative to walk the audience through the concept. From our experience we’ve also found this formula has worked well for us in the past.


So our next challenge was to find out how this formula would work best for Criminal Case? Initially we thought a voiceover may work nicely, but with the static visual look of the game, we felt it needed an extra something. So we decided to include two characters from the game itself, Detective Jones and Grace. We felt having them directly address the audience would attract interest – and with that in mind, we decided to film in live action!


Our idea was to have the characters introduce the situation, leading into animated segments simulating the gameplay and taking the audience though an example level. This would not only add a bit of variety to the finished advert (with the other animated segments, it would make for a nice juxtaposition) but would also directly appeal to the game’s demographic, after all adding in good looking actors couldn’t hurt!! We considered animating them in 2D – but felt that this might undersell the quality of the game and obviously it’s always our number one priority to make the product look its’ best.


After some research into the genre (similar games, as well as crime shows like CSI) we decided to go with a smooth and clean, but also clinical and sharp feel to the ad as we tried to recreate the feel of the types of TV shows that this game appeals to.


So you can see the creative and research processes that go into the conception stage. The next step is to get approval from the client. Generally we put everything into a brief that includes some visual examples of the animation style, as well as a mood board to give an idea of the tone. We also wrote an example script based on gameplay videos we had watched, to get an idea of who the characters really were and to make it even more appealing to the client. And then we put our selling skills to the test….


You might think this all sounds exhausting before we’ve even really begun, and it generally is! But from our experience it’s always the case that the more planning that is put into a concept, the easier it will be to execute down the line. We pride ourselves on our thoroughly built concepts as we know the value of showing the client that we’ve genuinely researched their brand identity, and that we know exactly who we are making the advert for.


The client liked the proposal, and besides suggesting a few tweaks to the script, we were clear to begin pre-production….


To find out how we go about the ‘pre-production’ stage of making an advert check back with us next week but in the mean time you can check out more of our work HERE and if you think we can help you in bringing your idea to reality get in touch HERE or call us on 020 3567 1096.