September 1, 2015

Cadbury reveals the secret behind Buffering videos

by Pratika Yashaswi

Ads would not be annoying if they were made with as much humor as Cadbury 5 Star’s last few ones. The punchline of Buffering, designed to be a preloader for YouTube videos, lands straight on the Internet generation’s chief grouse: terribly slow-buffering videos, and the irony prods us further on the funny-bone when we’re watching it on a slow Internet connection.

Using YouTube’s buffering wheel, Cadbury 5 Star made this pre-roll film to show viewers the “real” reason why YouTube videos take time to load.

The brief was simple: How can 5 Star’s marketing proposition –  “Jo Khaaye Kho Jaaye”, or “Get lost in the taste of 5 Star” – be taken to YouTube in an engaging manner that instantly connects with the youth?

“My first thought was, what if I surprise people who are watching the video, with a fake buffering symbol at the beginning? That sparked the idea and then the script was ready within the hour,” says Amitabh Agnihotri, Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather.

Amit has worked extensively on Five Star’s campaigns in the past, prominently the No Hard Feelings campaign in collaboration with Ayappa KM of Mumbai-based production house Early Man Film (with whom he collaborated on this project as well). The teams worked with technical input given by a group from YouTube itself. “What was great about this project was that, as soon as the idea was scripted, everyone from both teams (O&M and Earlyman Film) was excited about it right from the director to the production team to the crew. Therefore the energy on set was very high.”

Buffering gave Early Man Film and Ogilvy & Mather Blue Elephants in the Direction for Film Advertising and Production Design for Film Advertising categories at this year’s Kyoorius Advertising Awards; and one for the Branded Film Content category at the Kyoorius Digital Awards.

“The script and idea were quite left of center, so the cast, music and sound design was kept very oddball. We had to create a strange world behind the screen, hence an opportunity to build a set far away from the clichés of advertising. It’s harder to do something when there’s no reference image backing it up. Also we wanted to create a factory caught in a time warp, untouched by technology. Everything you see is manual. For example, there are people hiding behind and moving the ear, the huge eye, etc.,” said Ayappa KM,  who directed the film.

This film is taken in one shot and has an extremely detailed steampunk aesthetic. “The biggest challenge was to get everything right in one take. It was a synchronisation nightmare. So every person behind the set moving each prop, the individual gadgets and contraptions that were set to a time, the actors, and the camera had to perform exactly at the right time, not a second early or late. So we did about 40 runs before we got it right.” The shoot lasted from 9.30 in the morning to 12 in the night.

Said Amit, “The only challenge we faced was to execute it the way we wanted it to be executed.” Did the execution match his expectations? “Using the buffering wheel to make a pre-roll video was different and innovative. We wanted to surprise people. I guess we did.”

This was also a formidable task due to the clunky machines and the costumes that were used. “I wish the conveyor belts moved a bit faster to highlight the urgency of the factory workers. We were unable to go beyond a certain speed because of the weight of the set and the complexity of its actions,” said Ayappa. Nonetheless, their efforts certainly paid off.

5 Star – Buffering was a Blue Elephant winner at the 2015 Kyoorius Advertising Awards for Film Advertising (61+ sec), Direction for Film Advertising, Cinematography and Production Design for Film Advertising. Have a look at all the In-book and Blue Elephant winners here.

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