From Constraints to Breakthrough Creativity:

Behind the Scenes of Quesada's Quirky TV Commercial
February 12, 2024 at 9:00 AM
by Black Box Productions

The foundation of a successful commercial campaign begins with establishing clear objectives and key messages, as well as identifying project constraints. This enables marketers to set targets and foster inspiration, ultimately leading to a powerful campaign.

At Black Box Productions we turn project constraints into creative fuel. In this post, we'll review how we used a client brief with multiple messaging and format requirements to develop an imaginative documentary-style commercial about the Noble Burrito-Eater. Read more to find out how embracing boundaries can lead to unexpectedly delightful outcomes!

The Challenge:

Quesada, the popular Canadian fast-casual restaurant chain known for its fresh, Mexican-inspired dishes, approached us with a unique objective: they wanted to tackle the perennial issue of people mispronouncing their restaurant's name. They sought a single creative asset with a humorous approach that could resonate with audiences in both English and French, across various media platforms including TV and social media. The client felt strongly that the campaign would not rely on any Mexican tropes or stereotypes.

The Creative Approach:

Our journey began with brainstorming sessions, fueled by the desire to find a concept that not only met the client's objectives but also stood out in the crowded advertising landscape. Since the campaign needed to be versioned in French and English, we knew that voiceover (as opposed to scripted dialogue) would be the most effective approach to deliver key messages in multiple languages without having to film twice.

Inspired by nature documentaries and the film "Stranger Than Fiction," our creative director, Ben Goloff, envisioned a captivating narrative: the Noble Burrito-Eater as the subject of a nature documentary, narrated by the iconic David Attenborough. The humor stemmed from the narrator's struggle to pronounce the restaurant's name, Quesada, until the frustrated Burrito Eater shouts “QUESADA!” delivering the punchline of the spot.

During the initial pitch, we also experimented with AI-generated voiceovers to illustrate the concept for the client. The client liked the idea and proof-of-concept, and was initially inclined to use the AI-generated voiceovers for the final cut. However, recognizing the importance of a human touch and being able to direct the performance, we opted to work with a professional voice actor. During an hour-long recording session, we refined the delivery to achieve the tone we were seeking.

The Execution:

Storyboarding played a pivotal role in bringing our vision to life. Detailed plans facilitated efficient shot planning and minimized wasted time during filming. It also enabled effective communication between stakeholders, ensuring alignment from concept to execution.

The creative approach of this campaign made it easy to version the commercial. By keeping framing and composition versatile and telling the story with a single actor, we were able to capture footage that seamlessly translated into different aspect ratios (16:9, 1:1 & 9:16), including traditional TV spots, web videos, and even social media content in both English and French languages. This approach proved to be both practical and effective, allowing us to maximize resources. Our client liked the campaign creative so much, that they asked us to apply the concept to a radio ad as well.

We utilized a nimble 10-person crew to film the commercial, with our cinematographer operating an Alexa Mini cinema camera. To capture mouth-watering closeup shots of the food, we combined a probe lens with a camera slider, enabling us to showcase tasty food details while incorporating dynamic movements. The presence of a dedicated food stylist was crucial in guaranteeing that the food appeared appetizing and visually appealing.

The Result:

We are more than glad to say that the TV and radio spots are now airing regularly during sports events in select provinces in Canada. We always get so excited when we see our work broadcasting on TV. It is a source of pride to see our quirky commercial ideas come to life and shared with a large broadcast audience. We will follow-up with our client when the campaign finishes airing to review the impact of the commercial and KPIs.

Key Takeaways

Our collaboration with Quesada reaffirmed several fundamental principles:

  • Successful creative processes thrive within constraints.
  • Collaboration, clarity, and visualization are essential for concept development.
  • Flexibility to adapt and expand campaigns based on client feedback is crucial.
  • Constraints are not impediments but catalysts for innovative ideas and execution.

Our experience with Quesada exemplifies the transformative power of storytelling when fueled by collaboration and guided by a strategic video marketing framework for creative exploration.

This project proves that constraints are not limitations but a springboard for creativity.

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