STBA Behind The Scenes

The thrill of finding a good deal triggers our basic human emotions—triumph, possession, pride…a need to be ‘in the know,’ and a need to tell everyone all about it.

When Big Lots challenged us to advertise a special promotion where we couldn’t mention any product names, the bits at the writers’ table started flying fast and furious. We used improv talent to explore the question, “How do you talk about the thing you’re not allowed to talk about?” and ended up with so many ways in that we quickly realized a sketch comedy approach—with multiple scenes—featuring a comedy duo would be the simplest (and funniest) way to execute.

We spent some time revisiting comedy’s greatest teams—Nichols & May, Stiller & Meara, Burnett & Korman— and were struck by how their best sketches thrived on very simple premises that they drove home with their perfect balance of chemistry and timing.  We then focused on turning the traditional look and feel of those classic TV duos into something modern, clean and ownable – and our simple premise was the tension of telling a story that “can’t be told.”

Enlisting the comedic chops of Second City alums and OKRP writing team, Jen Bills and Greg Mills, we created four sketch comedy films that push the envelope to turn a communications obstacle into a fun and intriguing proposition for Big Lots. Then in true “Nimble. Quick. Prolific.” fashion, we shot them over two hours in front of a live studio audience using our own in-house production studio, Whiskey & Bananas.

In between set-ups we kept our audience entertained with some of the best live improv talent in Chicago. By capturing the comedy sketches on a stage with a live audience, we literally invite our target to become a part of the event audience, giving the final films an authentic feel, and allowing our end viewer—even if they are watching alone on computer, tablet or phone—feel like they are truly part of the show.

View the full spots.