Sometimes, a story comes to you long before the client does. For our editorial director, Brendan, the story was pulled from his own life: he, his wife Holly, and their two little ones were feeling mighty cooped up in their Brooklyn home during the Covid-19 pandemic, and they wanted a car so they could get out of the city and get some fresh air. As quickly as possible…please.
But how does one buy a car while still maintaining proper social distancing efforts? A quick Google search proved that Cars.com was the answer to that burning question.
With this great idea came a pitch: what if we produced a video that not only told people how to buy a car in this unique time, but also just how much value a car can add to a family’s life? We pitched the idea to Cars.com, revved our engines, and off we went!
‘How to buy a car while social distancing’ was a question easily answered by Cars.com. Shooting a branded content spot while social distancing, however? That posed a welcome challenge. The client agreed that since this was Brendan and his family’s story, it was best to have them self-capture their own footage to maintain an organic, honest feel. We got creative and set up a Zoom chat where we could maintain a good eye-line with our talent and conduct our interviews. Though a lot of the video was shot on iPhone with high-quality lavalier mics, we wanted to utilize cinema-grade audio equipment so our story was told as clearly as possible. With a client-approved original script in hand, we made sure that Brendan and his family covered every bit of the story while staying true to their authentic selves.
The best part of the piece is our payoff at the end: Brendan, Holly, Holter and little Elliott head to the beach in their new minivan. We wanted this moment to really seem like a breath of fresh air, so we brought in our top cinematographer for that final outdoor shoot, along with an Arri Alexa camera and even a drone. We gathered a tight crew of three, and planned a detailed day of socially-distant filming. Masked and gloved, we captured beautiful footage to close the piece, all while keeping ourselves and each other safe.
As always, the video came together in the edit room. A creative editor laid out the story, and high-quality composites of the Cars.com website and search functionality were animated into the video to showcase just how easy the Cars.com service is.
WHY WE LOVE IT
This fun, informative video was an exercise in adaptability. With in-person shooting being quite limited, we learned entirely new methods of directing and producing remotely. When we did feel safe to get back out into the field, we had to create new processes to ensure the safety and health of all cast and crew. We never shy away from learning something new when making films, and now we have this creative, adorable piece under our belts as a result. Even when the world seems uncertain, one thing is for sure: we can keep on making cool, meaningful and impactful stuff for our clients.