Instagram launches IGTV, will you be tuning in?

Posted in: Video Marketing

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Instagram launches IGTV will you be tuning inInstagram, the social media giant with over 800 million users, has launched a new feature that will no doubt be causing its rivals to worry about how to hold on to their users. After making a serious dent in the fortunes of Snapchat it now seems they have their sights set on YouTube with their launch of InstagramTV.

Unlike Instagram Stories, their current video offering, IGTV is exclusively for pre-recorded long-form content. Although they may expand to include live videos later. Users can post videos from 15 seconds to 10 minutes in length, whilst popular influencers and verified accounts can post up to an hour of video content. Users can like, comment on and send the videos to each other via direct message and some Twitter users are already pointing out that their videos are getting more views and engagement than those hosted on YouTube, although this could be due to there being far less content on IGTV at the moment.

It exists both as a dedicated section within the Instagram app and also as a stand-alone app. Users are able to search and scroll through videos recommended for them, as well as ones from people they follow and popular videos. Whilst there’s currently no paid advertising option for IGTV brands can add ‘swipe up’ CTAs on their videos, and given the premium of full-screen mobile real estate it’s likely that an ad package or opportunities for sponsored content will be introduced soon. When you open the app the videos just start playing, like TV and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom thinks this ‘lean back’ mode could make IGTV a powerful place for Instagram to put ads.

However, experts including Neil Waller of influencer marketing agency Whaler warned that IGTV requires careful planning by brands, “it should not be a place where users simply post their stories, unless Instagram’s end goal is for IGTV to become a replacement for Stories.” This seems unlikely, given that Stories focuses on short, snappy, in the moment updates that encourages spontaneous creativity as opposed to the careful, thought out approach of pre-recorded and edited IGTV videos. It’s essential that brands think carefully about the kind of content they want to put on IGTV so that it’s an extension of their video marketing not a repetition. The videos are only shown vertically and full screen so that may means brands need to change up or experiment with their filming equipment.

We think this is an exciting development to social media and video marketing and we’re interested to see the innovative ways brands use this new channel.

Are you thinking of experimenting with IGTV, or video content on social media in general? Why not get in touch and pick our brains about how we might be able to help. Our Facebook video series for SunLife is already seeing incredible engagement and we’d love to help more companies use video to boost their brand.

6 things to include in your video brief

Posted in: TV Adverts, Video Marketing

So you’ve decided to commission a piece of film, great! Launching a video campaign is exciting, but it can also be quite daunting. You may be envisioning casting calls, location shooting and the glitz and glamour of a film set, but you might also be feeling a little overwhelmed and not sure where to begin when trying to get your idea onto the screen. Luckily, that’s where we come in.

As a creative production agency we get a variety of video briefs, from short social media videos to multi-national TV advertising campaigns, so we know how to go about delivering a piece of video content, from script to screen. Here’s some common questions we ask people when they get in touch about a video, these are good starting points to include in a video brief to make sure you and your production company are on the same page from the get go.

Happy Hour Productions clapperboard on TV commercial shoot
  1. Where is the video being used?

Are you wanting to freshen up your website with some video content? Perhaps you want a fun short film for your social media, or maybe you’re after a big, shiny TV advertising campaign. Where you want the video to be seen matters. It could affect the purpose of the video, its intended audience and even the video style. So have a think about what you want the film to achieve and then where you think the best channel for it would be.

  1. What’s the purpose of the video?

Aside from being used as a marketing tool, is there a specific purpose for your video? Are you launching a new product, trying to encourage people to come to an event, creating a customer testimonial about a product or service, or showing off your brand to new audiences? The purpose of your video has an impact on the messaging you’ll want it to contain, where you’ll want to show it, and could also affect the style of film. For example a shiny brand campaign aimed at getting your name or product more widely known is probably better on TV or social media whereas a customer testimonial might be more suited to living on your website.

Happy Hour Productions filming online video content
  1. What style of video?

Snappy stop-motion, to-camera interviews, CGI masterpieces or studio shoots, how do you want your final video to look? You know your brand and audience inside out so you know what will work best. For instance, animation or CGI can be good if you want to convey lots of information or demonstrate technical aspects of products or services, whilst live-action films are great for telling stories.

  1. Do you have a script?

This is to the give the agency an idea of the scope of the work, which they can quote for accordingly. If you have a script worked up, great! If not, it’s no problem. Many agencies and production companies can collaborate with you to craft a script that’s just right. Experienced production agencies will also be able to advise you on messaging to include in your film to get the best results.

Happy Hour Productions train statio nlocatoin filming for QuickQuid
  1. Budget?

This is a big one. How much does a video cost is a bit like ‘how long’s a piece of string’, depending on things like length, style and where it’s being filmed costs can very hugely. If you include an idea of budget, no matter how rough, in your brief you can rest assured that you and your production agency are on the same page from the start, and reduce the likelihood of unexpected costs popping up later.

  1. Other videos/styles you like

It’s always handy to give your agency an idea of other videos you’ve liked, which can help them get a feel for the style you’re after. Put together a list of films you’ve seen which you feel could work for your brand and purpose, this could be a video your competitor put out, a tv advert you’ve always admired or even a clip you saw floating around on social media.

Including these 6 things is a great way to beef up your brief and give your agency or production company a really clear idea of the kind of video you’re after so they can crack on with creating the perfect video for you from the get go.

If you’re working up a brief for video why not send it our way? We’re now in our 15th year of creating video marketing for a huge variety of brands and we’d love to help you too.

Happy Hour productions crew behind the camera on shoot

Harness the happy: social media video for April Fools’ Day

Posted in: Video Marketing


Social media ‘holidays’ are a great way for brands to showcase their personality and start conversations with their audience. Whilst there’s a ‘Twitter holiday’ seemingly every day, Talk Like a Pirate Day anyone? (September 19th if you’re interested) some are certainly more important from a marketing perspective.

April Fools’ Day has become an annual competition between brands to see who can come up with the most inventive, convincing or hilarious way to fool their audience and customers. We highly recommend grabbing a cuppa and taking a look at some of these roundups of cracking campaigns from 2016 and 2017 for some inspiration.

As well as being a great way to inject some fun into your digital marketing campaigns, social media videos are often an opportunity to generate PR, every year the industry and marketing press is full of round-ups of the best April Fools’ Day campaigns, like the ones above.

It’s important to prepare these campaigns so they’re believable and will fool people without being insulting or (too) controversial. Setting up fake product pages, sending out press releases and investing in making the prank seem genuine are likely to ensure your prank gets shared, giving your brand visibility and boosting engagement.

No one knows your customers like you do, so trust your gut as to what they would find funny and relevant, the best pranks tie into the brand and products in a convincing way.

We’ve been working with SunLife for a few years now to produce some of their most successful video pranks. They’ve seen great reach from these campaigns, which brought in new audiences and got them free press coverage.

Beard Insurance was viewed on their website 105k times in one day, with web traffic increased by 400%. This campaign even won 2 awards at the Financial Services Forum Awards as well as being featured in The Telegraph and Look.

 Courtesy Pet Cover had 528k views, 1.2k shares and was featured in The Drum.

 While last years’ Guaranteed Sun Insurance brought in 381k views, 78 shares and was also featured in The Drum.

Are you thinking of using video to prank your audience? As specialists in creating quick-turnaround, entertaining social media videos we might be able to help. If you’ve already got an idea, we can help you to bring it to life, or we can come up with something to get people talking. Get in touch to find out more.

Santa Claus comes to town for our latest SunLife social video

Posted in: Video Marketing

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and here at Happy Hour we’re certainly getting into the Christmas spirit. Our latest festive film for SunLife has now gone live on their social channels, once again showcasing an inspiring over 50 year old.

For this online video we sourced a local toy shop, Bristol Favours Little Treasures, in Bristol whose owner, 54 year old Jo, perfectly encompassed the traits SunLife promotes in their ‘Welcome to Life After 50’ suite of films. Jo always dreamed of opening a toy shop and her motto of “Take life by the horns and it doesn’t matter how old you are” is the perfect sentiment.

Production Coordinator Pietro Herrera explains why we decided upon this particular story for our Christmas video. “Toy shop owner Jo is a well-known and well-loved face in the community of St George, Bristol. With traditional wooden toys and a support for local artists we thought her shop would make the perfect setting for the warm and cosy Christmas video.

As we enter Bristol Favours Little Treasures we step into a winter wonderland complete with some of Santa’s little helpers organising presents. We were even lucky enough to have the big man himself drop by the office to record the voice over – a real feat given it’s his busiest time of the year!

Directed by Michael Wright and shot on location over just four hours one cold November evening, the Happy Hour team set-dressed the shop to up the Christmassy vibes. The opening was shot using a handcrafted miniature street set and a specially made snow globe, whilst our voice over session with Santa was recorded at Happy Hour HQ. The set was carefully lit and filmed using a Black Magic Ursa mini with vintage Carl Zeiss lenses that, along with the final grade, created that warm festive glow reminiscent of classic 90s Christmas movies.

We knew last year’s cheeky Christmas film would be hard to beat, so this had to be something extra special. It’s always a treat getting to sprinkle a little Christmas magic on a shoot and having Santa visit us at Happy Hour HQ was certainly a highlight!” – Nicola Tyler, Head of Commercials

These interesting, engaging and highly-sharable videos really resonate with viewers and are a great way for SunLife to showcase their personality and open a dialogue with their audience. If you are looking for fun, creative online video that show more of your brand’s personality, then get in touch to find out how we can help.

Our favourite 2017 video marketing statistics

Posted in: Video Marketing

As we look ahead to 2018, another year where video content is expected to dominate, we thought we’d round up some of the best video marketing stats from this year. If you haven’t already jumped on the video bandwagon, what are you waiting for?

2017 video marketing statistics infographicIf you’ve started looking ahead to plan your 2018 video marketing strategy, why not get in touch to see how we can help? 

Creating viral online video content for SunLife

Posted in: Video Marketing

Social networks are making it harder than ever for your content to get good organic reach. With changing algorithms and re-organised news feeds it’s become more and more difficult for brands to stand out without putting some cash behind their content.

We create viral online video content for SunLife’s social channels that is really resonating with viewers and they are seeing amazing organic reach and results. The “Life After 50” suite of films gets genuine engagement and creates a real buzz. Two of the most recent films have racked up 1.8 million and 924 thousand views respectively:

The story of Tessa Morgan, an 82 year old ballet dancer, has currently been shared over 28 thousand times on Facebook alone! Whilst the film of 63 year old DJ Bernie has been shared over 7 thousand times.

All the SunLife videos are filmed using our internal crew and fully produced in-house. Having all facilities in-house means we can offer budget friendly online video solutions to our clients.

Nicola Tyler, Head of Commercials, explains why we enjoy making this type of online video content: “The over 50’s are not the ‘silver surfers’ they once were – 50 is not old! The type of content we’re making is genuinely challenging stereotypes and long-standing perceptions of the over 50’s – something SunLife are increasingly keen to do. So it’s a challenge for us too, to find interesting and inspiring stories that are going to resonate – and it’s nice to see the viewers are enjoying the content as much as we enjoy making it.”

The Life After 50 videos are an ongoing project so watch this space for more inspiring stories to come.

If you’re thinking about shaking up your online video content then get in touch or call us on 0117 929 9797.

Here’s a behind the scenes look at a few of our Life After 50 shoots.

Beating the competition with Anana’s latest corporate film

Posted in: Video Marketing

We’re thrilled to announce that our latest corporate film for Anana, the contact centre solutions experts, won the product video demo competition at the Genesys international conference. That’s two years in a row that we’ve helped the Anana guys steal the show.

This year’s video was shot in the same style with our cast of toy contact centre workers but with updated, politically-relevant humour. We love creating unique corporate films for Anana as they allow us to really have fun with the concept and utilise our production skills with the execution. You can see last year’s film here.

Anana’s CEO Chris Woodward was really pleased with the finished film, “Our video is perfect and flexible. The attention to detail is great. I love the models, scenery and sound effects. Top banana!”

The video contrasts two very different contact centre environments, one that is using Anana Accelerate and one that’s not. It showcases how the Anana Accelerate system improves the ability of contact centre’s to deliver world class customer engagement whilst boosting efficiency. As a corporate film it was essential we condensed a lot of product information and benefits into a relatively short amount of time. The key was making the video amusing so that it grabbed and retained the viewers’ attention.

Creating this video involved a fun miniature set build with clever creativity required to re-fashion a variety of everyday objects into tower blocks and office sets. Our Production Assistant was also on hand to craft tiny costumes for our diverse cast that included a pretty recognisable boss figure, Rex from our previous video and Brains the robot.

The quick turnaround corporate film was filmed by our own crew in our in-house studio and directed by Michael Wright.

To find out more about our corporate film expertise, or to discuss you own video marketing needs then get in touch.

Bringing walls to life for Siniat’s latest online campaign

Posted in: Video Marketing

We’re pleased to see that our latest online video production has now gone live. The videos for construction and drywall manufacturer Siniat were made in collaboration with creative agency Mr B & Friends. The suite of 5 videos showcases a selection of performance plasterboard solutions Siniat offers to combat a variety of home and building improvement needs.

Siniat, who are one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of drywall products and systems, needed some short, snappy videos to raise awareness of their brand as well as their different performance plasterboard options. These videos needed to be a considered mix of educational and entertaining, encouraging homeowners and builders to look below the surface. So often the conversations we have around decorating focus on the decorative details such as paint colour or wallpaper without considering just how important having the right plasterboard can be. 

The adage “if walls could talk” is often used, but Mr B & Friends really ran with it, letting the walls actually join in the decorating conversation. With clever make-up trickery, Happy Hour transformed the actors to literally bring the walls to life!

Executing the concept required a lot of creativity by the make-up department, clever set builds and production expertise from our team. The turnaround for the whole production was very tight and the shoot day itself had to be perfectly choreographed to ensure we could get our two actors made up for four very different scenes. It was a fun, creative challenge to match the body paint styles to the sets and ensure the whole process fit into a one day shoot without negatively impacting the creative. To keep them recognisable and on brand, Siniat’s signature pink appears in all the videos.

‘If Walls Could Talk’ was concepted, scripted and storyboarded by creative agency Mr B & Friends, who came to Happy Hour for production and post-production services.

‘The strength of this campaign is that it takes a product which is normally hidden from view, and puts it front and centre, in a highly disruptive way. With actors painted into walls and talking directly to the viewer, we’re in no doubt of the message – use better plasterboard. We were fortunate to work with a great team at Happy Hour Productions who made the process completely seamless, resulting in a packed day with a great campaign as a result!’ 

To see all five videos, check out Siniat’s website.

 The online videos are being supported by an integrated campaign that includes online advertising, sponsored placements on leading industry websites and a dedicated area on the brand’s website. 

If you need production support or would like to find out what our years of experience can bring to your briefs then do get in touch.

We go nuts about nuts for new Meridian animated ad

Posted in: Animation, Video Marketing

Online video adverts for YouTube or social media are a great way to increase your brands presence without the higher costs associated with TV advertising. That’s why creative agency The Impossible Dream asked us to create a fun, animated YouTube ad for Meridian Nuts , based on their creative and storyboards. 

The animated 20 second pre-roll YouTube advert had to showcase how, because they don’t use palm oil or sugar, Meridian can fit a lot more nuts into their array of nut butters. Here’s the finished video:

Following the storyboards from The Impossible Dream we used a hand-drawn style of animation combined with 3D CGI to create realistic looking jars and nuts. The hand-drawn animation and simple styling of the advert kept the focus on the product and the message, with different ways of squeezing nuts into the jar adding a humourous touch. Creating a memorable, engaging video is key when advertising on YouTube to stop your viewers clicking the dreaded ‘skip’ button.

This ad was produced in house by our animation team. To create the wobbly line effect on the hand-drawn elements they redrew the illustrations several times, the frames are then rapidly repeated to create a sense of movement. Subtle sound design and a few escaping nuts add a light-hearted touch to the campaign that’s in keeping with Meridian’s brand.

If you are considering any video marketing, then get in touch to chat about how we can help you with social media videos, online web content and YouTube video commercials.

Happy Hour restore order in latest QuickQuid TV campaign

Posted in: DRTV, TV Adverts

The latest commercials for QuickQuid’s ‘Order Restored’ campaign are now airing. Created and produced by Happy Hour Productions, the 30 and 10 second spots feature the familiar freeze frame scenario that highlights how a short-term loan from QuickQuid can help cover life’s little emergencies. The first new TV commercial features a setting that will be familiar to many, trying to corral the kids through the weekly shop as disaster strikes at home.

QuickQuid Supermarket stillThis commercial is one of three new creative routes for the ‘Order Restored’ TV campaign, originally launched in 2015. The new ads maintain QuickQuid’s strong brand position and recognisable identity and like with the previous commercials, we wanted this ad to focus on relatable ‘real people’ in realistic and familiar scenarios. It’s important to show that anyone can experience unexpected bumps in the road where short-term financial help is required to restore order.

The supermarket commercial featured a set build and a carefully choreographed freeze frame sequence which involved additional visual FX work as well as clever props (check out the oranges) and in-camera trickery. A Steadicam AR Omega rig was used to seamlessly weave around our actors in our own elaborate version of the mannequin challenge.

The new commercials were directed by Michael Wright and filmed at The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol.

Take a peek behind the scenes below…


We have been making engaging DRTV commercials that really drive results for over 13 years. You can rely on our award winning team to think outside the box and bring new creative ideas to your brands. So if you’re thinking about TV advertising or video marketing to boost your brand get in touch.