It takes more than ever before in the modern world to capture someone’s attention. Advertisements are the greatest casualty of this. Some commercials are the ones you fast forward through while a select few become the ones you actually look forward to seeing. Familiarity is the key and UK’s Plusnet have established their own signature style for many years. These commercials are down to earth and full of humor. Safe to say, when you see a Plusnet advert come on the screen, you know it immediately. It’s paid off well, creating a sense of trust and friendship between service and the public from a foundation based on the everyman rather than celebs or glamour. This year, Plusnet used this premise to reflect on itself and shake things up a bit for their latest commercial; with a wink at what some advertisers will do to gain attention
Plusnet’s offerings on television are often more about entertaining viewers than strong-arming them into subscribing to their service. Singing Cindi Lauper’s “Time After Time” in a local pub, Synth Pop Band Heaven 17 performing their hit “Temptation” while being chastised by the Plusnet Spokesperson Joe (stand-up comedian Craig Murray of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire), and a father giving advice to his newborn son…or is it a Plusnet representative; all of these have been the premise of the company’s ad spots. The most recent offering features “Plusnet Joe” amidst the glitz and glamour of musical theatre, accompanied by more than twenty ballet dancers and performers. The spectacle is stopped by Joe who communicates to viewers that all of this pomp and circumstance is unnecessary. What seemed at first to be Plusnet experimenting with a new style is revealed to be a reinforcement that dependable and familiar is tried and true…and preferable. Of course, the production process required for this is substantial. An original song was created and dance choreography was created to accompany it. Director Cris Mudge and Cinematographer Darran Bragg (who recently served as DP on Tomorrow with executive producer Martin Scorsese and directed by Martha Pinson) crafted the visual style of this markedly different Plusnet commercial. Darran states, “The central concept of the set design was a semi-circle ‘fan’, created with a series of large-scale overlapping SIM cards that were finished in the brand’s distinctive colors. A key element to establish the musical theatre theme was an array of practical bulbs inserted into the front face of each SIM card that would outline their silhouette. Lighting was incredibly important in achieving the right look for this production. I used a number of different variations including the ‘golf ball’ tungsten E14 40w, a self-built 12x12 half grid softbox above the set containing 9x 2K open-face lamps, 4x 650w Fresnels, with an additional 4.8kW Spacelight left and right of the set. All in all, this totaled around 30KW of available top light that would balance and integrate with the 16KW coming from the practical set lighting. This arrangement and its central position above our set culminated in a flattering quality of light for our talent that fell off a little towards the side, creating a sense of contrast towards the edges.”
As with previous promotions, this commercial has once again endeared customers and fans to the wit and humor of Plusnet. The relationship the company has built with consumers via these ads has earned what all companies aspire to; being eagerly welcomed rather that considered a nuisance.