Generally speaking, humans try to steer clear of anything related to exploding number twos. But TVNZ has fully embraced them in a series of new channel idents for TV2 via Blacksand.
Blacksand executive creative director Jens Hertzum has overseen a number of similar campaigns and channel brand refreshes in his time. But this one was special, he says, not only because it was quite unusual to shoot 8,000 polyurethane twos out of a cannon, but also because it was all done in camera and involved local talent and crew.
"It was a great project for us and a great brief from [marketing manager] Chris Hooper. Our idea was to give the idents a much greater level of engagement by doing something that visualises the 'Come out and play' ethos of the brand. And I think the result is surprising and interesting."
He says it was "a great leap of faith" from the marketing team, because "when you're shooting stuff like this you never quite know what you're going to get". But he believes it worked brilliantly. And while doing it for real was technically difficult to achieve and required a few extra cannon blasts to get the right shots (continuing the scatological theme, there was a big crew cleaning up his number twos, he says), it did add to the authenticity and it wasn't as expensive as doing it in post-production.
"Having been in this business for a long time, I imagine this type of thing has been done before with logos, but while I'm wary of coming out and saying this is a world first, I haven't seen anything that uses cannons and has been shot in camera [visual effects company Film Effects was in charge of the ballistics, and the cannon and Phantom camera used to shoot the spots were used to film Spartacus]."
He says it's not a full rebrand, it's more of "an evolution of the brand" that requires some swapping out of visuals, but he says it tried to take the previous channel idents, which featured various stars from shows playing on the channel with a handheld number two, by showing that these six special moments have "something in common with TV2".
As well as the channel idents, the collateral will also be used in other on-air elements and Hertzum says the idea also offers a platform to create new versions for different seasons or events, such as Halloween.
There's certainly a lot more thinking, effort and expense going into them than in the past (although here's a classic for TV2 from 1996). But do they work? Or are they the visual equivalent of elevator music?
"I think idents are important," he says. "They're a signpost saying 'here we are, this is our personality'. But I think they should be short. If you took them away I think they would cut the heart out of the channel, but if the audience have an emotional response to them then I think they do serve a purpose by helping tell them what the channel is about in a short time."
Here are some of Hertzum's favourite broadcast identities from around the world:
"I really like this broadcast identity work for France 5, fantastic use of screen space, photography and logo placement and the IDs are striking too and act as the main visual ‘supports’ to the on air design (as they should)."
"These Channel 4 IDs were sensational, expensive and a great reversed re-invention of Channel 4’s very first, 'exploding 4' ID."
"The IDs of anthropomorphised food I did with my old team at LifeStyle Food always get a laugh."
"And of course, the king of broadcast Identity, Martin Lambie-Nairn’s BBC Balloon from the early '90s that shifted the entire brand perception of BBC from old, fuddy-duddy aunty to a contemporary, pan-UK corporation."
Client: TV 2
Marketing Manager: Chris Hooper
Brand Manager: Gary Mulholland
Agency: TVNZ Blacksand
Executive Creative Director: Jens Hertzum
Creative Director: Greg Hughes
Campaign Producer: Morag Lavich
Producer: Lindsay Gough
Director: Jens Hertzum
DOP: Drew McGeorge
Special Effects: Film Effects
Art Director: Jacob Slack
Editor and Colourist: Martin Webb