I always enjoy a challenge. Among the many projects I take on, I can distinguish the ones that will add something new and valuable to my portfolio. I knew this low budget tv commercial for Fido, a dog food brand from Asia had great potential to be a unique and fun item in my portfolio. This could only be achieved if I managed to create something slick within a very tight budget. You may watch the ad below and, if you think I managed, keep reading to find out how.
I wanted to create something both cute and funny, just like dogs.
The house was not big or decorated so I had to rely on a wide angle and close shots, which worked for showing the dog’s expressions without drawing attention to the environment.
Working within a low budget was the main and obvious challenge but it was not the only one. There was also the difference between the target demographics and the location where I would be shooting: while this is an Asian brand, I was in Mexico at the time and had to work around Caribbean looking locations to make them look general and not too specific. My goal was to produce the ad in a way that these 2 factors wouldn’t even come to the viewers attention, in a way that no one would have ever guessed. The key would be where it usually is: in the story.
It was really helpful to know the challenges from the start, because I could address them at the time of writing the script. I wanted to create something both cute and funny, just like dogs. Because we couldn’t really afford human models, I thought our main character and narrator had to be the dog itself. With that in mind and a simple twist to a sales opening sentence the customer gave me, I had the main idea for the ad. Our dog isn’t jealous of human’s food because it’s so happy with Fido. An unexpected and funny turning point would interrupt the human narrator’s voice and switch the to the dog’s perspective quickly, hopefully grabbing the viewers attention and causing a subtle smile. The rest would be selling sentences and happy shots of the dog running and playing.
I didn’t need anything too difficult from our gorgeous model dog, except for the shot that I would freeze to write the main idea: “What do you mean only?” I needed the dog to suddenly look proudly into the camera. It was a subtle motion, and in order to get it, I had to record for hours. I would have never expected for the weather to bring me yet another challenge. The day we shot it was pouring all day long. It was impossible for me to get the shots of the dog running in the park. I luckily managed to get one of it running across the street right by the house during 10 minutes that the rain stopped. I later was lucky enough to find an identical dog running in a park within my stock footage library and that saved me from having to add another day of production. Editing was fun and I was more than pleased with the final result.