Blog: Making a TV advert

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

The latest edition of our We Eat Balanced campaign is live now. The TV advert features an inquisitive young girl called Nancy and her Grandad. You meet them on farm and Nancy is asking where do meat and dairy get all their ‘goodness’ from?
A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to develop a TV advert, so Nicola Dodd, one of our senior marketing managers has shared with us how it all came to life.

There are quite a few stages involved when creating a TV advert to make sure it grabs people’s attention with messages that resonate, while at the same time making sure it adheres to strict advertising standards. When we started to plan the January 2022 campaign we carried out research to understand how consumers felt about our first advert which aired at the height of lockdown January 2021.

While the advert performed well at the time, it was reflective of what the world looked like then and it was apparent that it wasn’t going to work 12 months later. However, we did discover that consumers were interested in the fact that Vitamin B12 is naturally found in meat and dairy and they also wanted to know why it was important. The associations with meat and dairy and nature, and messages about them being natural, were also well liked, along with an interest in the stories farmers have to tell.  

The next step was to bring in a creative agency, who took that information and used it to come up with three creative routes for us to explore. We then tested these with groups of consumers who were asked what they thought of each concept and what message they thought the advert was trying to convey. People were selected and grouped by location and stage of life so that we could get a representative sample and understand different people’s views.

This testing showed us that the preferred route was ‘Nancy investigates’. The Nancy concept resonated with many people in the groups, who recognised and reacted fondly to the inquisitive nature of a child asking lots of questions one after the other. They also liked the close relationship with her Grandad and the delicious food images.

The creative agency then developed the script and storyboard, working closely with members of our technical and Knowledge Exchange (KE) teams, alongside nutritional experts, to make sure the messages and images were right from an ‘on farm’ perspective and adhered to food advertising legislation.

To bring the story to life we hired a director and production team who added their own spin to the concept and advised on location, casting and props. Selecting the location was challenging as we needed to consider the type of farm, the animals to be shown, access for the film crew and the ability to set up all the camera and sound equipment inside the farmhouse to take the food shots. Also, filming in November presented challenges in terms of daylight and low sun, so the whole shoot was planned out with military precision.

We produced three versions of the advert which separately feature Beef, Lamb and Pork cuts, with Dairy featuring in all. Our Food Communications Manager developed and tested the recipes to make sure they represent a healthy balanced meal which complied with advertising guidelines, while looking absolutely delicious. She was on hand at the shoot to make sure each dish was styled perfectly and portion sizes were correct.

The shoot itself took two days and involved a wide variety of people to make sure everything ran smoothly. As well as the actors, there was a director, film and sound crew technicians, the creative agency, food stylist, a photographer, a member of AHDB KE and members of the marketing team. Everyone had to provide a negative Covid test, and temperatures were checked on arrival to ensure everyone stayed safe. 

We received the first edit of the advert a few days after the shoot, after which the music, sound effects and legal small print were added.

Throughout the creative process, the script and storyboard were checked with Clearcast, the body that makes sure TV advertising in the UK is fair, not misleading to consumers and complies with the Code of Broadcast Advertising (the BCAP Code). Every single word, phrase and image is checked, checked again and verified. The final edit was then approved and submitted to the advertisers in mid-December, ready to go live on the 4 January 2022.

After all this time and effort, it’s obviously very important to make sure the advert is seen by the target audience. We use a media buying agency who looks at audience and programming data to plan the best TV spots to place the advert in to create impact and share the message that meat and dairy from Britain can form part of a healthy and sustainable diet.

Have you seen the advert yet? If not, take a look at it here:

Listen to our podcast where we go behind the scenes of our We Eat Balanced TV advert: