My Treatment for a Toy Commercial/Project Report

Working Title: “Bio-Morphs”

Contact: Sean Maguire /seanmaguire17@yahoo.co.uk

Logline: The fate of the world is in your hands”.

In this commercial I want the toys to be the central focus with kids in the background who use the toys. Heroes are introduced, badguy shows up and the heroes defeat him. The characters are in their Bio-morph forms which are like a suits of armour which cover the whole body. What follows are descriptions of the figures’ physical appearances. They all retain human shape (except Carnifex who is an Alien) but each character has its own specific feature based around existing insects, and all of them share a glow in the dark and light up eyes characteristic:

  • John: this figure has projectile shooters in both arms. The main colours of this Bio-morph are orange, red and black; and the head piece is based on the head of a Firefly.
  • Greg: this figure has a trigger on its back that makes the arms move in a punching motion. The main colours of this Bio-morph are green and light brown; and the head piece is based on a Preying Mantis.
  • Penny: this figure has translucent plastic swords and an axe. The main colours of this Bio-morph are grey and rose; and the head piece is based on the Tiger Moth.
  • Isabelle: this figure has various parts of the body that lights up and has detachable lightning shaped weapons. The main colours of this Bio-morph are purple and silver; and the head piece is based on the Japanese Rhino Beetle.
  • Carnifex(Villain): this figure has four arms with alien swords and guns. Carnifex’s physical body is meant to resemble a mosquito and his head looks like an insect version of a velociraptor skull.

This commercial will be targeted at 5 to 10 year olds and it will aim to sell these figures based on the popularity of “Bio-Morphs” animated series which is also aimed at that same audience. The show is set in modern times so this will have to be reflected in the actors, props and locations we use. It is set in the Midlands of England. My intention is not only to capitalise on the popularity of the show but also to stimulate the child’s imagination by convincing them they can come up with their own stories for the characters, I intend to this with the commercial’s tagline “The fate of the world is in your hands” which could connect with younger audiences and make them feel somewhat empowered.

Act 1: Open with clips from the show(like a transformation sequence) depicting the 4 main characters and then transition to the action figures on a set that is a model city, zoom in on one of them and the set turns into a living room and a kid starts playing with it.

Act 2: Then it shows different kids (I’d like to variety in race and gender, such as 1 white British boy, 1 African British boy, 1 Chinese British boy and 1 Indian British girl) playing with the other figures in different places E.G the Garden, the kitchen, and in a kid’s Bedroom. This shows off what all the toys are capable of doing feature wise.

Act 3: all the kids and their respective toys come together in the model city set from Act 1 and the Villain toy is introduced and soundly defeated by the hero toys. It ends with the tagline “the fate of the world is in your hands and depicts all the figures on display.

Project Report

Topic research and formulation.

At first I decided to base my Idea for a toy on a project I was working on in my own free time. The Idea was originally formulated from multiple sources such as the Guyver (Bio-armour), The Breakfast Club (Characterisation) and Power Rangers/Super Sentai (Team Theme); which all culminated in the final project “Bio-Morphs”. The “Bio-Morphs” were intended to be a childrens 2d animated action adventure series set in the UK and then I realised these kinds of properties are ripe for all kinds of merchandising, just look at all the toys, video games, furniture and all kinds of other stuff that come from Transformers, Spiderman and Ben 10 (check this website to see what I mean http://www.amazon.co.uk/). This is how came to a decision on my idea for a toy commercial.

During Class we had a meeting where we discussed our personal Ideas and heard feedback from each other. This could be compared to a board meeting in real life where the executives would share ideas on their future projects. I came up with the idea for a line of action figures based on my “Bio-Morphs” project. My idea was slightly influenced thanks to the feedback I received from fellow students; they asked questions like what do the figures do and what makes them unique? Therefore I decided to adjust the figures so that they would have extra traits and features such as the ones listed in the bullet point portion of the treatment.

Using this feedback and past experiences of carrying out Market research (Questionnaire) in Critical Approaches, I will research the potential popularity and public demand for my product with questionnaires targeted at my intended audience (6-12 year old boys approximately although girls won’t be excluded). The type of questions I intend to ask will be mostly qualitative (such as “Is there anything about this toy that makes you want to buy it if it was real? Do you think its lacking something that you’d want it to have? if so please explain what they are”) so I can get the broadest possible perspective on their thoughts on reactions. will also research various toy commercials to find out what techniques are most effective at drawing in customers by analysing them and identifying any recurring themes that are popular according to published sales figures.

When I was conducting market research before I used questionnaires which I distributed to the class and collected their responses into a Microsoft Excel Graph. Based on the results I noted which responses were the most popular, this is the most effective way for executives to determine what the majority of consumers are most interested in. Armed with this information they can alter their products to better appease the majority in order to make the most money.

On a side note the questionnaire I worked on before was centered around controversy in broadcast and viral media advertisements. For the next project I will be sure to focus more on the attributes of advertisements that the audience seems to connect with, in order to get the most most out of my questionnaire I referred to a book called “Questionnaire design by Ian Brace” one of the most intriguing quotes is “Open-ended questions can be a deterrent to respondents, depending on their interest in the subject matter. If the level of interest is low then open-ended questions tend to be at best poorly completed and at worst can damage the response rate. If possible, keep open-ended questions until the latter part of the interview.” [1] I could do this by looking at the popularity of these commercials based on the number of views and the sales figures of the product it is advertising.

[1] Ian Brace, I.B., 2008. Questionnaire Design. 2nd edition. London: Kogan Page Limited. page 144

When I conduct research for this project I will try to employ more secondary research techniques (such as using the internet) to gather a much wider array of information in a shorter amount of time, although I will still be carrying out Primary research possibly in the form of Focus group (which is something I would like to try). If I am unable to conduct a focus group I will carry out a small questionnaire to compensate. The type of questions I intend to ask will be mostly qualitative (such as “is there anything about this commercial that makes you want to buy this product and if so please explain what they are”) so I can get the broadest possible perspective on their thoughts on reactions.

Using the Street Sharks commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gpb3l0-9uc) as a form of secondary research I looked for conventions that I could take note of for my own toy commercials. I identified several conventions including the overly excited narrator and some bad puns like “they bite, they fight, they kick some serious fin”. There were also some kids playing with the toys which is another convention which I adapted into my treatment. I think showing kids is the way the commercial reinforces to its target audience that this is a product for them and gives them an idea of scale of the figures.

One thing that I noticed while conducting research on toy commercials, was that throughout the 90’s there was an explosion of anthropomorphic animal heroes which seems to have not gone unnoticed as evidenced in this article (http://things90skidsrealize.com/tag/talking-animals/). Shows such as the “Street Sharks”, “Biker Mice from Mars” and “Extreme Dinosaurs” which all came out in the wake of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and all had a line of action figures to promote them and sometimes the shows were made to promote the toys. This is one aspect I would like to work with as my characters are designed around different insects.

With regards to contingency plans most of the scenes will be shot  inside in a controlled environment like a studio and an actual house which will require backup locations in case of busy schedules or unforseen accidents, It would also be wise to maintain a medical crew on set in case someone falls Ill and needs treatment. There is one scene that will be shot outside in clear day but that could always be re-scheduled or moved inside if the whether turns bad.  In case of missing actors and crew members we could find replacements beforehand and keep hold of their contact numbers. We need to have a source of replacement equipment and alternate power source like a generator if the worst should happen. If the Producers dislike the commercial we will need our script writers contact details for re-writes and if Investors pull out we will need financial back up plans.

In conclusion this has given me more an insight into commercial advertisements (more specifically toy commercials) and I enjoyed doing the research on this topic. I look forward to a future career in the television industry and this project report has taught me that work doesnt have to be chore, especially when its about something you are interested in.

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