Producing DRTV ads: Behind the scenes at Happy Hour

  • Author hhAdmin
  • Category DRTV, Team News
  • Published

DRTV ads are a great way to boost business and by utilising modern filming techniques, they’re becoming all the more impressive. We’ve been working on a series of DRTV ads for QuickQuid set in a laboratory complete with a mad scientist and special effects. They are great examples of how good DRTV ads can be, with an inventive concept and high production values. They go to prove that you don’t need to be salesy to be persuasive and this approach can end up giving a more familiar and positive feeling towards the company.

We’ve interviewed the producer of these commercials, Tamsin Wiley-Scott, known as Tiggy, about what goes into commercials like these to give you an idea of what you can expect from a high spec direct response advert with Happy Hour.

What is your role as a producer?

“First the client discusses the brief and objectives with Happy Hour and the DRTV team come up with concepts for the adverts. The route is then chosen and detailed scripts are written, which all get approved by the client and their legal team. Then it’s my job to make it happen! I ensure we have good actors, the right location and that everything is well organised so the work is done within budget and to schedule. People are always surprised by how many people are involved in the making of a commercial, but every crew member has a specific role – it could be all over the place if it wasn’t organised properly!”

How does it work on set with 3D animation and other computer generated effects that will be added later? How do you accommodate them?

“There is always a Technical Director on set to make sure we have everything we need for the editing process – and how the 3D animation and computer graphics will fit with the live action filming. They will always take lots of photos and use reflective items as a guide for lighting on set – they then know how to create the CG element so it blends perfectly in with its live action surroundings.

With the “Jet Pack” advert for QuickQuid, we used a lot of computer graphics – the actor is actually on a harness. When we cast for the part, all of the actors had to be comfortable with this work and the actor we chose had actually worked for a circus before.”

What is the casting process for a part like that?

“It was in the brief that they would have to be comfortable with aerial work, so a casting session was held in London. Actors went through a couple of rounds of call backs before we sent a selection to the client.”

This series was all shot in a bottle factory in Bristol. How do you go about finding the perfect location?

“I’ve been working in Bristol for a long time, so when it comes to finding a location that’s local, I often know the perfect place – but often we’ll use a Location Manager to find and recce locations that fit our brief, or if we really can’t find it we’ll build a set that’s fit for purpose.

I’ve worked at The Bottleyard before, so I knew it would work really well. There are still old bottles lying around which make it perfect for a laboratory. It’s a large space to work with so it’s very important to have a good art director to get it looking right.

For the latest laboratory series of adverts for QuickQuid, we only had one week to be on location. So with art direction, pre-light and de-rigging there was only 2 days of filming. In this time we shot the footage for four 30 second videos and four 10 second videos. This kind of fast turn-around would have been impossible without an experienced crew!”

The laboratory commercials are very light-hearted, do you think this is a good approach for DRTV?

“I think humour works really well because people like to be entertained. If they want to find out all of the details and facts about a company, they would visit their website. With a commercial people want to watch something they can enjoy.”

The new QuickQuid commercials will be airing on national and digital channels from 1st April.

We produce commercials in a variety of styles, always with original ideas that drive response. If you’d like to talk about your own DRTV commercial, give us a call on 0117 929 9797 or drop us an email

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