When we think of advertisements for corporate brands, the word ‘indie’ doesn’t really come to mind. We think of actors, scripts, studios and controlled conditions to help the brand execute perfectly on its vision. Why? Mainly because a lot of brands do their best to think big and execute as big of an idea as possible to help attract interest from consumers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this approach, and it has long been seen as the most successful way of reaching a target audience.
This week, TalkTalk, the British TV, Internet and mobile provider, teamed up with ad agency CHI & Partners to test the waters by creating unscripted indie-style content to use as its primary marketing assets.
In reality, they didn’t actually create anything other than a concept, as all of the content was unscripted, thanks to the help of a local British family. The agency’s idea was to capture real people interacting with the service TalkTalk provides in their regular day-to-day lives. There was no script, actors or any sort direction telling the family what to do or where to do it. The way they’d do this, is to situate 16 cameras within the family’s house and film non-stop for 2 weeks.
At one side of the spectrum invading the privacy of a family’s home for a few weeks seems pretty outrageous, but the family fully agreed to the filming and went about their business (surely with a bit of extra cash in their pockets). When the two weeks were up, the agency collected the footage and sifted through it to find real moments they could use in their ads.

What makes this style of filmmaking interesting is that the directors weren’t sure whether or not any of the content they captured would be useable. What they discovered, is that the first 24 hours was virtually useless, as it took the family some time to get used to cameras (although unmanned) being present in their household.
What the agency uncovered was nothing short of genuine – a happy family laughing, crying and sharing wholehearted moments on their devices, with services provided by TalkTalk.
What more could a director ask for?

We commonly mention the power of using real people and not actors to build the credibility of a brand’s consumer experience, as opposed to traditional advertisements which use studios in closed-off environments. In a perfect world, studios are great and actors can make the tears roll down your cheeks if they’re given the right words to say. What’s even more powerful, is giving real people no words and letting them be themselves, as consumers typically find them more likeable and relatable.
In the past we’ve seen indie films live predominately online (and more recently on Netflix), which could mean the spark of a new under-marketed category. Some may have predicted this trend, as the concept of using influencers in corporate advertising has become more and more common in 2016.
In fact, we’ve been taking this approach for a long, long time. Almost every brand we work on offers a new opportunity for a different professional in a different industry, which opens the door to convey real consumer experiences and advice from real people. Here’s a piece of our work, which included an indie-style filmmaking approach from concept to execution for one of the world’s most well-known software companies, Autodesk.

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Rylee Strachan

Author Rylee Strachan

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