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Itsu

Eat Beautiful.

Direction
Production
Post

The Brief

Real kitchens, real people's stories, and the real flavour of Itsu – that was the challenge laid out before us to place a spotlight on their latest brand campaign, the cook at home range. 

Breaking away from the ordinary, Itsu knew they needed more than just a visual feast to create this selection of TV Commercials and branded video content – they needed a blend of authenticity and creativity. Joining forces with Makers, (the agency), we were invited to spice things up and bring a fresh perspective to the table. It wasn't just about showcasing delicious meals; it was about crafting a narrative that sizzles with real stories, and that's exactly what we aimed to achieve. All to infuse this project with a dash of creativity, a sprinkle of Gusto, and a whole lot of genuine Itsu magic.

The Approach

We could see that there were plenty of existing elements to keep in, but with our very own Blake Claridge directing, as well as crewing up the lightweight team, we were ready to get stuck in.

Keeping the team agile was crucial - we didn’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, and the number of crew was the real secret ingredient to making it all work - in the end, we had a Director, DP, Soundie, Gaffer, HMU, Runner, and the Agency Producers. That’s pretty light in our books.

Keeping the authenticity of the brand in the production was essential, but we wanted to creatively elevate it. First step - casting. Having genuine Itsu customers was key, but we weren’t prepared to stop at that, we wanted Itsu lovers from around London who had a passion for home cooking.

We took away the previous concept of having the customers present, as hiring non-actors, most of us don’t like being in front of the camera! We took a different approach, stepped into their homes and focused on who they are. From observing them doing what they ordinarily would do in their kitchens (and shooting in a style that didn’t interrupt, whilst not hindering the shots) we subtly re-constructed the lighting, brought in minimal art direction, and a very light touch of food styling, all to make it feel genuine but look great.

Back in the Studio for post production, we jumped into a part we had previously agreed with Itsu and were excited to see become a reality - animation of their butterfly flying through a portal into their customers' kitchens accompanied by the noise of ‘the gong'. It was simple, but we were confident that it would be the right way to bring in their brand icon.

The style was influenced by Japanese paper art and the visual concept was beautifully brought to life by animator Richard Payne. We also worked with Nick Rice to produce the new sound of ‘the gong’ along with the iconic music that would tie everything together.

Handling the offline edit and versioning in-house was key to making the process, and the revisions with the agency and the client lean and clean. Once that was complete, we then reached out to our team of talented colourists and sound mixers for the online final cuts.

With Itsu’s original vision constantly in mind around customers always being at the core of what they do, we created a suite of online and offline assets that kept the clean aesthetic of the brand and stayed true to the integrity of the concept. 

The Outcome

With over 60 peak spots across ITV and Channel 4, as well as a healthy roll out online, Itsu saw the value the ads brought to the thousands of kitchens around the country. As such, they increased their ad spend.

So, we think that’s a very happy client.

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