Article courtesy of Robert Goldrich at SHOOT Online.

How can you communicate something that you can’t talk about–namely top brands at great prices that can’t be advertised?  That’s the challenge that faced O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul (OKRP) and its production arm, Whiskey & Bananas Studios, when client Big Lots asked them to create online films for their Secret Top Brands.

The solution: Enlist the comedy chops of Second City alums and OKRP writing team, Jen Bills and Greg Mills, to create four sketch comedy shorts–filmed before a live audience–for distribution across digital and social media channels.

“This campaign leveraged universal truths and hilarious situations to turn a communications obstacle–deals so low, we can’t advertise them–into a fun and intriguing proposition for Big Lots,” explained Sue Gillan, creative director at OKRP who also served as director of the films via Whiskey & Bananas. “By capturing the comedy sketches on a stage with a live audience, we literally invited our target to become a part of the event audience giving the final films an authentic feel.”

OKRP assembled a live audience of 100 people and invited four other improv actors to entertain them between sets creating a high-energy atmosphere.  In two hours, Whiskey & Bananas filmed four sketches, which launched this month on various digital channels.