Roche Bros. Taps Cape Production Company For Commercial

Scott Lebeda films vegetables at the Roche Bros. in Westborough as part of Good Natured Dog Productions commercial for Massachusetts the supermarket chain.
Courtesy Of Cooper Vacheron - Scott Lebeda films vegetables at the Roche Bros. in Westborough as part of Good Natured Dog Productions commercial for Massachusetts the supermarket chain.

Growing up in Medway, Alecia (AJ) Orsini-Lebeda remembers clearly making shopping trips with her mother, Kate Orsini, at Roche Bros. supermarket in nearby Millis.

Those trips continued for AJ until she graduated from Medway High School in 2002, at which point she went south to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, where she earned a degree in film and television.

While away at college, her mother continued to frequent Roche Bros., often bumping into one of her daughter’s high school classmates, Ben Zidel, who worked for the store cutting deli meat. “My mother would pester him to go to film school and he finally did,” AJ said. “But he still worked at Roche Bros. while pursuing his degree.”

The two would eventually begin to collaborate on small productions that AJ and her husband, cameraman Scott Lebeda, have undertaken since 2006 when they formed Good Natured Dog Productions. Their association has continued even as AJ, a production coordinator for Falmouth Community Television, moved to Falmouth with her husband roughly three years ago.

Among their more recent collaborations was a video they helped produce with Ben this summer that he entered into a Roche Bros. contest open only to employees. The competition asked employees to make a video that best exemplified the Roche Bros. experience. 

Though he did not win, the video was good enough to catch the attention of the company’s director of marketing, Dena Zigun. “I thought he had a nice eye and had done some great work with the camera,” Ms. Zigun said.

She decided to pay Ben a visit at the Burlington store whenre he worked to compliment him on his effort. And in the midst of that conversation, she mentioned her interest in finding someone to shoot a commercial for Roche Bros. in celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary.

Ben placed a call to AJ, who put a proposal together for Roche Bros.’ consideration. “They proposed actually filming all day in a store and for the script doing actual customer testimonials,” Ms. Zigun said. “I was a little nervous about it, but they had a solid vision.”

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Roche Bros. Taps Good Natured Dog

The company ultimately selected Good Natured Dog to shoot the commercial, choosing them over other, more experienced, production companies in the state that had also bid on the project.

At the beginning of last month AJ, the executive producer, her husband Scott, the director of photography, and Ben, the director, ventured to Roche Bros. in Westborough with a small crew to capture their vision on camera.

From the time the store opened at 9 AM to the time it closed at 8 PM, they filmed everything from beauty shots—images of the store and its products: cheeses, meats and prepared foods—to customer testimonials of what makes Roche Bros. unique.

At first, AJ said, persuading customers to talk on camera, even with the enticement of a $10 gift card, was somewhat difficult. That task fell into the hands of intern TaiMarie Gonsalves of Wareham.

It was the culmination of a long, long time of pestering Ben behind the deli to go to film school and to call her daughter when he was finished with school to work with her. So when she [my mother] saw both of us working on set for a company she shops at and loves, she was so over the moon.

AJ Orsini Lebeda

After Gonsalves pitched them the opportunity of appearing on camera, AJ said, customers would hesitantly walk away “and start shopping. Then they’d come back when they were done shopping and tell us, ‘We want to say something about Roche Bros.' After the first couple of hours when people started shopping we had no problem finding people.”

One of those who appears in the commercial is AJ’s own mother, who commends the work of the supermarket’s employees in the meat department. “I’m not a great cook,” she laughingly admits on screen. “They can tell me what to do with it so it makes me look good.”

Over The Moon

The experience may have been most exciting to her mother. “It was the culmination of a long, long time of pestering Ben behind the deli to go to film school and to call her daughter when he was finished with school to work with her,” AJ said. “So when she saw both of us working on set for a company she shops at and loves, she was so over the moon.”

The footage was edited by Barry Clegg, a Boston-based editor who has done work on a number of commercials, including those for Jordan’s Furniture, and completed a week later. The result was three commercials, two of which are currently airing on both NECN and Comcast SportsNet.

Although the Cape-based production company has made several commercials in its short history—Bank of Easton, St. Anne’s Credit Union of New Bedford, and Pride Gas Station of Springfield, among others—the Roche Bros. campaign marks a step up for them.

“What is so exciting about this commercial is this is our largest,” AJ said. “It reaches from the Cape and Islands into the Worcester area. I think they said 3 million viewers for Comcast and another 2 million for NECN so this has the potential for being seen in 5 million homes, which is pretty crazy.”

With this now behind them, Good Natured Dog is working with Beth Colt, owner of the Woods Hole Inn, to shoot a Kickstarter campaign for a project related to her famed red chair. The company is also working on a social media campaign for the Captain’s Manor Inn.

The goal is that the Roche Bros. commercial can help Good Natured Dog Productions and its employees continue doing what they love. “This commercial is a new point for us being a small business,” Ms. Orsini-Lebeda said. “It is a great calling card for us now and I’m really looking forward to doing more of this.”

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