Saturday, March 20, 2010

Having Quintuplets is Hard....Saving Money at HEB, That's Easy!

A few weeks ago a local talent agency sent out a casting call for families of young (still in diapers) multiples in the Austin area. The casting call was for an HEB commercial. (HEB is a big Texas grocery store). Several people forwarded us the email and we decided to audition. The audition was in a hotel in downtown Austin. We filled out a questionnaire on our shopping habits and then we were ushered into a room where we answered a bunch of questions on camera. The kids would not sit still (the fact that they sat still during the entire KVUE interview a couple of months ago was a complete fluke!). Ryder even knocked over one of the tables. I answered the questions honestly, including telling them that I actually bought my diapers at Costco, not HEB, because they were cheaper. After that audition, we weren't sure what to expect, so we really excited when they chose to use us!

Making a commercial was a completely new experience for us. When we did the documentary for TLC, it involved 2-4 people following us around while we went about our normal routine. A commercial shoot is an entirely different story. I had no idea how much work and man-power goes into making a 30-second commercial. It was fascinating to watch the whole process.

After we were selected, the location manager came over to take pictures of our house and determine if it would work for the shoot. In the next few days, teams of 9-12 people, including the director, producer, art director, and advertising executives came over to look around and plan things out.

The day before the shoot, the art director and his crew came over to fix up the rooms they would be using. I tried to take some before and after pictures, although the day of the shoot they added even more, so these pics are incomplete:

Living Room: Before

Living Room: After

Living Room: After (different angle), The quints were so excited to see the rocking horses and were sad when they took them away!

Kitchen: Before

Kitchen: After (the day of the shoot, they added a lot more to the window treatments)

Front Playroom: Before

Front Playroom: After (the day of the shoot, they switched the dresser and the changing table and added a few more things)

I thought this was hilarious----they even brought in a pile of junk mail.

They also added some other kid's artwork (or perhaps they did it?) to our refrigerator. I guess my kitchen wasn't cluttered enough, because they brought in a lot of stuff for the counters too.

They brought in plants for our front yard. It turns out there are places you can rent plants from for these kinds of things....who knew??

The day of the shoot there were 40-50 people at our house throughout the day. The production company came the night before to set up orange cones up and down the street so they would have places to park. They had to get permission from the city to bring in all their trucks, and a few days earlier they went door-to-door getting signatures from all of our neighbors.

Our Front Yard

More Front Yard

One of the Equipment trucks.

The stretch of vehicles down the street (including a mobile home) that were brought in.

The vehicles up the street from our house

Even our garage was taken over.

Huge lights and cameras

One of the cameras

More lights.

There were four basic "scenes" that they shot that first day: playing with the kids in the family room, feeding everybody lunch, Jayson bringing in groceries and playing with the kids in the front playroom. It was pretty much like how I picture a movie set---the director would call "Action", we would do what they asked or say some lines, the director would call "Cut" and we would do it all again. The whole time we were filming, some advertising executives from HEB were in our upstairs family room watching the whole thing on a little monitor. Every once in a while, the "runner" from upstairs would come down and say things like, "She sounds too grumpy, have her say it again" or "The Huggies box needs to be moved a little to the right"

I am never going to look at a movie or commercial the same way again. I realized that everything and I mean EVERYTHING in a movie/commercial is there on purpose and for a reason. When they did the scene of Jayson bringing in the groceries, they were concerned about every little detail, from the pile of junk mail to the half full sippy cup and toy on the counter (it was hard for my OCD mind to realize that they actually put the sippy cup and toy there on purpose---I kept wanting to go clean them up!)

One of the crew took this picture with his cell phone during the shooting

Setting up for the "bring the groceries in" scene

The front playroom--the day of the shoot was rainy, dark and gloomy, but thanks to the gigantic lights, from inside it looked like a sunny day.

Ryder and Rustin playing with the toys they set up. On one of the "research" visits, they asked me what toys the kids liked to play with. I told them that they loved Duplos and MegaBlocks, so they brought in these MegaBlocks that were more aesthetically pleasing (the ones we own are bold colors) for the kids to play with on camera.

Kyndall, Kassidy, Ryder, Kaydence and Rustin and take a break after a long day of filming.

The Quints check out the equipment

Rustin with Brayden King, the director

Ryder and Rustin with John Christian (the producer). Everyone was so nice and friendly. John was especially great with the kids.

I think the kids favorite part of the day was "helping" the clean-up crew roll up all the floor mats.

A few days later we went to an HEB in Kyle, Texas to film the grocery store scene for the commercial. They had three carts filled with groceries and lined up. Riley and Kaiya pushed one cart, Jayson pushed the middle cart and I pushed the one in the front. The scene involved Jayson getting a box of diapers to put in the cart and all of us walking off. Compared to how much of a production there was at our house, I was surprised at how inconspicuous the filming was at the grocery store. I doubt that most of the shoppers even knew that something was going on.

The diaper aisle where we were filming.

One of the cameras.

The commercial started airing this past Wednesday and I have heard reports from several people who have seen it, however WE haven't see it yet! They promised to send us a copy, but it probably won't be for a week or two. In the mean time, we keep recording random shows and watching all the commercials in the hopes that we will find ours :-)
UPDATE: We finally saw the commercial! The kids were so excited to see themeselves on TV, as soon as it would finish, they would say "Do it again, do it again!" We have probably watched it close to 100 times now :-) For those of you in the Austin/San Antonio area, it seems to be playing frequently and has been on during the Tues night Americal Idol. For everyone else, I am hoping that HEB will post the commercial on their website. In the mean time, I have asked permission to post it on YouTube, but I haven't heard back yet.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering---HEB really did lower their prices on Huggies (as they claim in the commercial) and it is now cheaper to buy them at HEB than it is to buy them at Costco! (less than 20 cents/diaper for the size 4 plus you can use coupons at HEB to make it even less expensive).



Tiffany H. said...

I'm from the Austin area and I saw the commercial the other day! I've followed your blog for a while now so I knew exactly who you guys were when I saw the commercial. Props for being able to film a commercial with 7 kids!

Mum2twopreciousgifts said...

Brilliant post! Thanks for sharing. I laughed about the fake junk mail. Who would have thought?

Nicole said...

I suppose I will never see it exept if you put it on your blog!

Gosh! I prefer totally the "before" pictures...
With multiples you need the less things possible!
And Your place looks beautiful "before"!!!

Hanna said...

Hope some kind person puts it on Youtube eventually -- I'd love to see it! Thanks for this insight into the process. I never dreamed it was so complicated to film a 30 second commercial.

Evie said...

Aww they should have let the kids keep those adorable rocking horses!!! :( Hoping to see a link to the commercial eventaully since there's no way I 'll see it on TV here in Canada :)

Halli Matheny said...

That's awesome! I'll have to start looking for the commercial too! Did they give you anything free for all your trouble? That's amazing.

Suzy said...

Wow, I cannot even imagine filming a commercial with my babies, let alone quints! Sounds like you had a lot of fun, though! Do you know if the commercial will be airing in other parts of Texas? My parents live in Houston. :)

Brad, Rebecca, Jacob said...

Way to go at getting a lower price on diapers! I'm sure that was so much work, but it looked like fun too:)

Jill said...

I hope you share the commercial on your blog because I have never heard of HEB, so I doubt it will be shown in California.
This was really interesting to see. I don't think that was very nice of them though to take the rocking horses away.

Schauers Hours said...

WOW what an ordeal! I loved what they did to your living room. Do you get to keep that stuff? Can't wait to see the commercial.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Appreciated the way you laid it out and took us through the steps of the before and after changes to your home and the details of creating a short commercial.

Would love to hear what Kaiya and Riley thought of it all

truly your family has been blessed!

The Queen Vee said...

You've wetted our appetite, can't wait to see the commerical. Hopefully you'll be able to post it after they send you a copy. I know you were all great in it.

Anonymous said...

Yes - please post the video on your blog.

But what a shame - all that work on adverts, and we never see them. We pre-record all our shows so we can skip the commercials.

Tobi said...

I love the new look of your blog. All the before and after pictures are so great! I love the rugs and the rocking horses. Too bad you couldn't keep those.

I think I was watching TLC when I saw your commercial. It was either TLC or HGTV. I'm sure you'll see it soon!

Crazy Granny said...

You should get the Quintademy Award for this one!

Maaike said...

Wow, that's a lot of work for a commercial.

I love the new lay-out. But in my browser a few of the pics (such as the family picture in the side bar) and the Youtube video screens now get chopped in half. Other than that: Refreshing new look! I love it.

My Boaz's Ruth said...

Thank you for letting me know about the price going down. Ever since Theodore went to size 4, Luvs doesn't work for us and Target brand changed such that it doesn't work either so we've been stuck with CVS and (mostly) huggies. I have not felt Costco was reasonably priced compared to the sales with coupons I've been able to get, but always knew I'd go to Costco if I needed diaper when no sale was going on. I'll have to check out HEB's prices again!

(I use Baby Cheapskate to find the good sales. This week there are several $3/1 Huggies coupons out!)

Larkin Legacy said...

Hi Rachelle: I've read your blog since the quints were born. We had a film crew at our home for a whole day doing about 2-3 minutes of film for a student film maker. There were 30 people here! It is amazing to watch, isn't it? BTW-my grandmother was a Rappeleye. I'm sure we're related.

Kelly said...

Fun! I'll have to keep my eye out for the commercial. Thanks for sharing this very interesting perspective.

Anne said...

Just saw the commercial. It was fun trying to see all the things that you talked about.

Anonymous said...

We saw it during Ellen :)

Jennifer said...

My husband and I saw the commercial last night. Perhaps I was to busy saying "I've followed their blog since they had the babies" to even notice the house scenes.

Arian Goodman Johnson said...

How fun to read and see all the before/after details. Your life will never be dull, Rachelle! Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.

Spence Ohana said...

I wonder if I was shopping at HEB Plus in Kyle when you guys were shooting!? We live about 5 minutes from that store, and that's where we always shop. I'm familiar with that diaper aisle, as it's where I buy James' pull ups. Gosh I can't wait to see the commercial! Is it online?

Kristen Duke Photography said...

How fun!!!!! I can't wait to see the commercial. Totally nosy question, but I assume since you were "actors" that you got paid for it, right? I love the before and after and bummer that they didn't let you keep any of the fun stuff you brought it. Thanks for sharing!

Janice said...

What a wonderful experience. I can't believe that they didn't leave the horses for the kids. What stinkers.

celia said...

We saw the commercial tonight (it aired during "24")! You guys looked fabulous, like total pros. Just a question, did the director pick out all of your clothes for the shoot, too? I noticed the quints' outfits were not matching, and if it had been up to you they would have been! :-)

kristin said...

I've noticed that I see it more on KVUE then any other news channel. My 9 year old saw it the first time, she knows Riley from Naumann. When she saw him she said, "HEY THAT'S RILEY!" And I realized it was your commercial. It's super cute and WOW at the production of it all! You're one brave woman my dear!

Stephanie said...

It's pretty crazy all the work that goes into a 30 second commercial. I tried to pay attention to the extra stuff they brought in for the commerical (that they thought was necessary). I only noticed the curtains in the kitchen because the clips moved so quick. We loved seeing it! We watched it with the kids over and over and over and over...

Anonymous said...

Wow, look at Kyndalls curls! How sweet! And I notice that their clothes don't match for once, why was that?

I would be super interested in the commercial too, if possible, please post it on your blog! :) Have a fun easter!

Kristen Duke Photography said...

Ok, I've had several people say, "I think your friends--the one with the quints, are on an HEB commercial" but I haven't seen it yet! Did you get the copy?

Dave Drew said...

Wow! Awesome! Congratulations on your commercial experience. It's amazing what they do to set up props for TV. Thank you for sharing this post and all of the images.

Dave Drew
Money Saving Author