For the competitive back to school retail season, Price Chopper wanted to feature family-oriented imagery in a bold package with 3D animation, similar to The “Holiday Pop-up” and “Bags 2 Riches” campaigns we had done together. Creative Director John Akots and Advertising Supervisor Telly Rainsberg came to me with several concepts, but the one we all loved was the idea of using refrigerator magnets and snapshots to tell the story. Since everyone with kids in school has magnets all over their refrigerators, this is something universal.
The story is narrated by a young girl, describing how her mother gets everything she needs at Price Chopper, and saves money on gas in the process. Using 3D animation enabled us to tightly choreograph the spot, with a single POV camera move starting at the closing of the refrigerator door, tracking past photos of a girl eating lunch, studying, playing soccer, and greeting her mom at the bus stop. The 30 second move ends with the Back 2 School logo and a montage of Price Chopper’s various brand logos.
The hunt was on for iconic-looking magnets that reflected school-based themes- pencils, books, school buses- as well as foods and other items that one might find at price chopper (pizza, fruit, donuts). Since one of the key points was fuel savings, there are car keys dangling on a magnetic hook. We also wanted to make sure there were other things stuck to the refrigerator with magnets, like a spiral-bound shopping list and a post-it note. The item/price deals and iPad image were made to look like paper ripped out of a flyer or a magazine. Colorful plastic letters and even magnetic poetry pieces were used for the “Back 2 School” logo and other type elements.
The creatives felt it was important to have a human element in the spot. After exploring ways to have hands placing magnets or otherwise interacting with the stuff on the refrigerator, we settled on reflections of a girl closing the door, a mom walking past, depositing her car keys on the hook, and the girl running by once again to punctuate the contest section. Obtaining the appropriate footage was proving to be a challenge given the time and budget, and the original decision to have a reflective black metal door meant we needed high-quality footage of people doing these things to appear in the door’s reflections. A solution was inadvertently found when we changed the door to brushed stainless steel, which more immediately says “refrigerator” but also has diffuse reflections, so we were able to work with very roughly shot footage instead, like that of Akots’ daughter closing the refrigerator door (shot with an iPhone).