RBS: Behind the Scenes

Author Kirsty McLean

With this unprecedented lockdown forced upon us, life as we knew it came to a standstill. But in some respects, for a lot of companies it was BAU; time marched on and businesses still had to find ways to create engaging content and communicate with customers.

The Royal Bank of Scotland wanted to reach out and provide financial reassurance and guidance to its customers, and who better to communicate this message than the staff members who know the brand inside and out. These colleagues have first-hand experience with real life customers, so they couldn’t be better placed to represent the brand authentically. And what’s more, it could all be captured from the comfort of their own homes!

The shoot days saw our director and the two agency creatives on Zoom calls communicating their vision to the contributors. Not only did this approach mean we were at the mercy of unpredictable home wifi, we were also relying on self-shooting and using non-professional cameras. There were of course some challenges along the way, such as bin men timing their visit with our very best takes (typical!) or cameras deciding to stop recording of their own accord, but with positive attitudes and patience we assembled the footage required in a single day shoot.

Our shoot director Charlie Parker, talks about his remote filming experience:

“I think one of the surprises with mobile shooting is just how streamlined it could be. Considering it was completely new turf for all of us, we managed to get it down to a rhythmic process that didn’t take long at all to get from concept to output. I’m not admitting that it was particularly easy because of this, just slick. On occasion we would have a technical hiccup, the main issue with not being physically there on set with a professional behind the lens, is that we can’t keep an eye on framing as the performance goes on. Seeing as our contributors were all staff members and not seasoned filmmakers, they didn’t exactly have a truck full of tech to assist them on their journey. I recall one contributor had his phone place precariously on a stack of chairs! Another person propped up books. There was some serious MacGyver-level improvisation going on and I was pretty impressed by it.”

I feel using genuine bank colleagues gave the ads a personable touch, with viewers being given the opportunity to see the bankers in a new light. Their friendly demeanours really shone through and surprise additions from family members and pets added to the genuine warmth of the deliveries.

Working as Assistant Producer on this project, I loved being part of something which was completely uncharted territory for everyone involved. There was a brilliant team spirit and upbeat ‘can do’ approach between production, client and participants.

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