For decades, Super Bowl Sunday has been an American cultural spectacle for sports fans, loved ones and friends alike and is noted for bringing people together in the millions. Why such a wide audience? The commercials are often equally or more entertaining than the game itself. At RiTE Media Group, we’ve had a tradition of throwing Super Bowl parties to watch these commercials, which in this industry represents the crème de la crème of advertising. But this year’s Super Bowl 50 gathering was particularly special for us. After Beyoncé, Bruno and Coldplay delivered their exhilarating, nostalgia-inducing halftime performance and cut to commercial, we witnessed a 30 second spot we produced for Georgia Lottery playing before our very eyes.
Originally, when we were approached by one of the most prolific ad agencies BBDO to create the commercial content for Georgia Lottery, we discussed four social media spots featuring Keno Kevin- The Fire-Breathing Goat. After months of sparse updates from the client, the greatly anticipated “green light” from the client was communicated and it was time for Keno Kevin’s first solo commercial without a co-star. The obvious choice of director for the project was none other than our very own Steven C. Pitts (Coca-Cola, Weather Channel), who was given creative input by BBDO to establish Keno Kevin’s “backstory” through a comedic, quality-based blend of topical and slapstick humor. The idea was to show Kevin’s POV perspective as he tries, and fails, to make his own YouTube show and add “internet celebrity” to his impressive list of achievements. Why does he fail? Simple… Kevin has no thumbs…which can make life troublesome.
Once the concept was approved, it was time to begin pre-production. The main priorities were securing the goat for our shoot day and building the set at RiTE Studios. Getting the goat was strangely the easy part, as the handlers were available and very accommodating to to facilitate the vision. We had a representative from the American Humane Society on set as well to oversee the filming process as we achieved everything we needed within the allocated 6 hours.[DID YOU KNOW: Kevin the goat is actually a female goat called ‘Cricket’]
[DID YOU KNOW: Cricket eats peppermints to create the ‘scream’ face]
Over three long days of construction, painting, texturing, prop placement and furniture building, Keno Kevin’s “man cave” followed. The greatest challenge in the pre-production stage was executing the set build and securing the extensive laundry list of props in an ambitious timeframe. It’s important at this stage to reiterate that we were attempting to shoot four commercial spots in a single 12-hour day. Only with our dedicated and passionate team, we achieved just that! Jason Tyler led the build whilst Andrew O’Conner sourced the props and furniture. Our director meticulously selected all design aspects and ensured that every prop had been justified and relevant.
The benefit of having an in-house crew meant that communication was free-flowing and information was immediate. With everyone under the same roof, I was able to not only have the ability to consult with my Director, but also have all lighting discussions with my DP and prop discussions with Andrew nearly simultaneous. This was a major reason for us accomplishing such an ambitious feat.
Despite only having three days to prepare, the shoot day went smoothly. Everything had been precisely planned and scheduled out to shoot the commercial spots simultaneously. Our crew worked diligently, efficiently and with incredible passion to drive us through our day as we dove headfirst into our shot list. As some would imagine, Kevin isn’t the greatest field goal kicker in real life. This is where art wizard and puppet master, Jacob Kiesgen enters to manhandle the hooves while operating an air compressor to launch the balls into the air… not an easy task by any stretch.
Finally, with the footage “in the can”, we entered the next phase, post-production; consisting of editing, graphics, sound design and music. Initially, BBDO’s creative provided a road map for post-production as we put our focus into assembling the Intro. Motion Graphics Artist, Mike Kameron simultaneously designed the graphics for the spots to ensure a quick turn around. Once Senior Editor, Kevin Christopher had an approved picture-locked edit, RiTE sound team got their hands dirty (literally) in the foley recording sessions, which literally recreated every sound you see on screen. Next, editor, colorist and cinematic engineer Colin Quinn composited the fire elements whilst sound editor and composer Paris Schulman added the music ingredients for final approval.
This is where it gets exciting. Originally, the scope of the project was merely an online campaign for Georgia Lottery, with the first spot themed around Football. Apparently the execs and creatives at Georgia Lottery enjoyed “Game Time with Kevin” so much that they pushed the commercial to broadcast, and before you knew it, we were told the spot was going to air after halftime during the 50th Super Bowl. We couldn’t believe it!
Overall, we absolutely appreciated the opportunity to showcase our work on one of the largest known platforms for American commercials. We cannot wait to continue delivering high quality content on the same scale with new challenges for our team throughout the years to come.
If you didn’t catch “Game Time With Kevin”, click the video above to view.
Sam P. Green
VP, Head of Production
RITE Media Group