Cardboard is pretty boring, but you know what isn’t? Cardboard-based advertisng

Companies are always on the hunt for new and interesting ways to get our attention, even if they can hold it for just a few seconds. It’s a bit like trying to stand out amongst a large school of fish. Well, a Wellington company thinks it’s found the answer, and all you need is cardboard and a bit of magical production dust.

Wellington talent directory Star Now wanted to pack a punch with its latest company video, so it decided to hire director Sally Tran, known for her creative and elaborate cardboard sets.

And just because it’s made out of cardboard, doesn’t mean it’s going to be as easy as it was when you created your own cardboard puppet theatre when you were five. This took a bit more effort.

The video was shot over two days and features the StarNow staff in mimicking various film and TV scenarios made out of, you guessed it, cardboard. Because it was filmed in only one take, with the camera swooping from scene-to-scene or a backdrop suddenly being pulled away to reveal a whole new set, it took 23 goes to get it right.

For a talent agency though, the acting is incredibly awkward. But just wait until they start singing.

StarNow head of communications Jessica Manins can attest to the difficulty, but says the company wanted something that was unique and quirky.

“Cardboard props and having one shot to get it right isn’t going to be for everyone. Set changes were complicated with staff holding up backgrounds then running into different spots with props for the next scene. Timing was crucial.”

Tran is quickly making a name for herself with these sets, having produced and directed a Vends advert. She also has a film up her sleeve called Timeslow which is still in post-production, says Manins.

One can’t help but notice a bit of a proliferation of the use of cardboard, another ad which made use of it, is one by vehicle servicing company Midas which came out last year. It was directed and produced by a YouTube-trained videographer – Side Project’s Ben Journee – who built an elaborate cardboard set in his living room and moved his figurines using puppeteeering techniques. Very impressive.

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