You don’t normally think of merchandising companies dabbling in the world of Hollywood, but that’s exactly what happened this summer when Apollo’s very own Joe Perine was approached by a former contact he knew from the grocery world to participate in a game show. Nick Stefano from UNFI reached out to Joe to see if Apollo could help merchandise the Supermarket Sweep Reboot show airing on ABC October 18th. UNFI, formerly Unified Grocers, considers Apollo one of their preferred customers and was excited to help fill in a missing gap for their client, Super A Foods. Super A, a family owned business, already has a history working in Hollywood when Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga shot an iconic scene for A Star is Born in the grocer’s parking lot. Since the company already had an “in” with Hollywood, the production company for the reboot show approached Super A to help with logistics. Super A’s role was to provide their grocery trucks to transport grocery products they sourced from UNFI. However, there was still a missing piece in the game show production puzzle. Who would merchandise the products on set? When Super A asked for references, UNFI recommended Apollo. Nick got the show’s co-executive producer, Megan Palmer, in touch with Joe and the rest is history.
So how was this job different from our normal retail work? Well for one, during pre-production, Apollo was asked to merchandise the product pretty much “on the fly” at a warehouse off Providencia in Burbank. Think of it as rehearsals for a play. The crew comes in, merchandises the products to Planogram, and production shoots the displays with the same lighting and cameras they would shoot with on the actual set. The Apollo crew takes direction from the production design team and art department and is then asked to remove product or re-merchandise until it looks aesthetically pleasing on camera. "I really enjoyed working with the producers on the visual aspect of what they were trying to accomplish. If you get a chance to check out the show on TV, take a look of the flyover of the store during the credits. The gondola tops look beautiful," said Jesse Brittain from Apollo Retail Specialists. One of the big things Apollo learned is that some colors just don’t work well on camera, so the art department would then change out signage with colors that looked better. A lot of trial and error happened to get the display, signage, and product looking just right. After the set was locked, everything was de-merchandised, packed up on to trucks and moved over to the Barker Hanger studio at the Santa Monica Airport where the real filming would commence. "It was very interesting working grocery and GM sets on an actual TV set. I have also enjoyed watching the show on TV and seeing the sets I built on screen. I'm proud of what we accomplished for Blue Orbit Productions," said Apollo's Suming Brittain.
Apollo did a fantastic job helping Blue Orbit Productions and Freemantle pull off this classic game show. Be sure to tune in to ABC on Sundays to watch our work!