The Quest for the Perfect “One Roomer” Ads

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This week, we talked about what we I’m calling “One Roomers”. These are ads that basically are shot in one room, or something close to it. We’re interested in modeling these because they allow us to focus on making a great singular, simple ad rather than getting carried away with tremendous sets, locations, and special FX that a production company can get lost in. We’ve produced all of the previously mentioned, but there’s a general feeling that producing a great “One Roomer” – a “national” quality one – is the perfect thing to reach for as we climb forward on our creative journey. We don’t want to rely on exotic multi-location shoots. We want to rely on fantastic acting; economic, but expertly designed production setups; and finally, terrific copy to climb this next rung of the ladder towards creative collaboration nirvana.

So, without further ado, here are the examples.


See the above E-Trade ad. All shot in one perfect, beautiful room. Okay – maybe it’s a set (it’s definitely a set), but still was probably shot in one day – what makes a great One Roomer?

  • First and foremost, terrific copy. The VO is wonderful – when he says “it’d be better to be richer than your brother” – it’s fantastic.
  • Great acting. From everyone – the stud, the watcher, the mom, you name it. Each bit of casting is so well attended to.
  • The set. Look at those trees with the snow falling gently. Look at the fireplace with the perfect rustication. It is truly all of our perfect holiday hideaway.

Budget estimation? Probably $300-$400k in truth, but could be done for about $100k no prob.

Next, these very well-timed “The Moment” ads from Lowe’s. These work because:

  • Simple, repeatable concept that very clearly carries across the brand value again and again.
  • Fun acting, great very RELATABLE copy with REAL people.
  • Simple sets (not like the first one we looked at). That are somewhat easy to produce.

Estimated budget on one of these maybe $100k, but could be done for $50k I’m pretty sure no problem (without the end part where they are in Lowe’s – that’s expensive!)

Taking a page from the same book, the Amazon Alexa ads that are taking over our TVs. Okay, now they’ve become annoying, but at the start they worked for all of the great reasons that the Lowe’s ones did. And if you question if they’ve been effective, consider this SNL spoof which is proof positive that the Alexa has firmly entered the American psyche to stay thanks to this ad format…

Once you’ve gotten an Alex Bueno spoof made of your spot, you’ve done it!

But HandCrank is all about the feels, no? It’s all about getting a true, deep down feeling from a film. Can you do that with a One Roomer? To sum up my presentation, I posited that you can, and I presented my old favorite, the Ikea “Lamp” ad as proof positive. If you’ve not seen this, you’re in for a treat, but grab a hanky…

Okay, so maybe they stepped outside for a moment, but still qualifies as a One Roomer to me.

In the last couple of months we’ve managed to land the “811 Call Before You Dig” campaign. Get set to see how we handle the “One Room” situation in these great ads coming out in March!

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We’re going for the emotions. Joy, sorrow, laughter, love - we want it all. And we want to work with people that understand that language. Partners who will challenge us to be better and push us to grow, so when we share it with the world, we've made something that matters.