Aus banana farmer

A still image from the visit to a banana plantation in Far North Queensland

As an industry, we underinvest in our brand campaigns in comparison to wider FMCG. This often reflects challenges of crop, packout and margins; and it has a knock-on effect to our approach in capturing content.

For those not native to marketing or branding, ‘content’ represents anything that promotes a brand. Content comes in many forms, from video and photos, to quotes, testimonials, and interviews. The critical challenge is to ensure that the content captured is dynamic, versatile and reusable. It must be viable for many different marketing channels, in as many iterations and forms as possible. Let’s look at one example of how to approach this challenge:

At 4:30am I rouse my videographer from his bed. We are off to film the sunrise over a banana plantation in Far North Queensland. We have a total of five shoots scheduled across three locations – no small agenda. Each shoot will involve three phases: drone, action, and interviews. We have run dozens of shoots like this and both know what we are after. But more importantly, we know we have a limited time to capture quality, versatile content from subjects who are often nervous, distracted and uncomfortable on camera.

Immediately after entering the property, we pull over and up goes the drone. We spend 40 minutes capturing the sun breaking over the plantation and the sheer scale of the property. At the same time, I brief our interviewees and action shot subjects. I explain we will shoot and reshoot a lot of the action shots and explain all the interviews will feel like a casual conversation between the two of us. My advice is: “if it’s funny – laugh, if it’s sad – cry”, I want them to react naturally. For those who’ve ever tried it – capturing heart-felt emotion in a quick-fire interview setting is tough.

For action shots we roam the property capturing bunches being cut, loaded, washed and packed. We film up close and from afar, in the light and the dark. We capture quality control and fruit being loaded onto trucks. Via drone we capture that truck leaving for store.

I generally allow 50 per cent of our time for interviews. This sounds generous, but it always delivers results. Interviews are about so much more than snippets for the 30 second clip, they embed the interviewee into your brand message and add depth to your relationship. They are the foundation of future content splintering and give scope for alternate content angles – such as bloopers, pan-category montages, and many more.

We talk about their dream holiday, their first job, their kid’s love for the fruit they grow, anything that gets them passionate and relaxed on camera. Then we talk about why they do what they do. We talk about why fruit and healthy eating is so critical for the consumer.

I start interviewing the owner of the property, a bear of a man, and I immediately notice he is swearing every other word. Someone off camera passes comment, and he quickly becomes embarrassed. Without pause, I tell him “I couldn’t give a flying f--- if he swears, so long as its only half the f---ing time!” - he bursts out laughing. To this day, that piece of footage is one of my favourites. That moment of unfiltered laughter is priceless, it makes it into almost every Freshmax promotional montage that we produce. Capturing moments of unrestrained emotion are worth so much more than a scripted and recited answer.

The rest of the day goes as planned and we fly home, then the real wizardry begins. On the flight we work through a list of possible content angles and splinters that we can repurpose the raw footage for. I want aerial montages, bite-sized clips, 30 and 60 second clips iterations. I want dedicated interview segments and the still images captured from across the day, including the behind-the-scenes photos. Putting it simply, I want a lot. But because of how we have filmed, the content is there for the making.

The result? For a manageable cost, which includes one day of videography plus two days of editing, we get a complete suite of video and imagery content for the coming season. Content that is original and fully owned by the business. Add this to the content we captured over the last four seasons, as well the other projects lined up and we quickly have a lot of campaign content to play with. So the next challenge becomes how to deploy it?