January 7, 2022 / CPOVs

Three Key Elements of a Successful Holiday Shoot

Robbie Field, Senior Creative

The Holidays are a busy time of the advertising year and the pandemic, on top of that, has made things even more hectic. As a creative in the industry, here are some things I learned that help make a successful shoot during this crazy, fever-dream pandemic world that we all live in. To do this, I’ll be using our most recent work as an example. A Christmas campaign for one of our biggest clients here in Dublin, Expressway.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Expressway, they are one of Ireland’s leading premium coach operators. They connect people all across Ireland and are a vital service for many communities. We wanted to create a campaign steeped in rich, defiantly human insights so the concept of connecting/reconnecting post-pandemic restrictions was the obvious choice. 

The campaign story follows the journey of two brothers who live in opposite parts of the country. They both have the same idea to connect with each other in person this Christmas and set out on their own epic adventure with the help of Expressway. We placed a significant focus on creating a cinematic experience while also keeping raw, defiantly human insights throughout. 

So, without further ado, here are some key learnings I found that make a successful shoot during the pandemic: 

Keep your team small 

Possibly the biggest change of the pandemic has been that every aspect of social and physical life has been either reduced or pushed away to a safe distance. However, the knock-on effect of this has been that working with a smaller team is something I have found to be a great benefit for executing a successful shoot.

Right from the beginning, our normal ways of working went straight out the window. Gone are the days when agency, client and production teams could all sit in the room and get answers to questions there and then. Now due to remote working, everyone’s schedules are very busy and there is often a delay in communication and getting answers on the spot can be difficult. A result of this is that decisions need to be made quickly, and more importantly, correctly.

Trust your team 

Working with a small team means there needs to be a lot of trust. I was fortunate enough to have great trust from our creative director. Being in an agency where there’s so much trust given especially by a creative director is a powerful thing. We were empowered  to make decisions throughout the whole process and were actively encouraged to do so. This gave us confidence to push the idea further.

I was also blessed to work with an amazing group who were all on the same page in terms of vision right from the start.

The first to mention was my art director partner whose immense talent and sound experience helped shape the outcome of the spot. We both worked hard at the very start to ensure we presented our idea coherently and simply to our brilliant clients. Getting client buy-in early on is vital to a successful campaign. And now, onto our amazing senior account manager who was by our side every step along the way. We couldn’t have gotten this campaign made without her. The three of us really became quite the team, bouncing from meeting to meeting and ticking off agendas and next steps along the way. 

So, having a great idea and working with a close team is one thing but getting it made is a whole different ball game. This leads nicely to the next key learning: 

Engage for stronger external relationships

It goes without saying that having a creative, organised and all-around friendly production team in your corner increases the chances of having a successful shoot. We couldn’t have been luckier on this project teaming up with a brand new production company, Rubber Ducks.

Right from the get-go, they were on another level. An important learning I found from this process was that showing enthusiasm and respect for the work that they do and actively getting involved with the production process from the start truly strengthens relationships and increases the chances of a successful shoot. 

So, enough chit-chat from me. Have a look at our Expressway Christmas ad.