In a year that seems to have flown by (while at the same time gone slower than you could ever imagine), picture the scene; it’s one of the hottest days imaginable and while the sun is scorching, S3 Advertising’s Head of Production, Dan Veal, isn’t slapping on the sun cream – but instead thinking snow, sleigh bells and Saint Nick as he leaves our creative agency in Cardiff and heads to North Wales to scout out locations for this year’s Christmas ad for client, Clogau.
One thing we did know was that, as 2020 has been nowhere near predictable, when it came to this ad, we wanted to steer clear of meaningless mood films, tearjerkers, and lofty love stories this festive season.
It’s Who You Share It With
Clogau has captured hearts and imaginations for over 30 years, always crafting jewellery that carries meaning, using Welsh gold in every piece and designing collections to tell enduring stories. This depth of sentiment means, for wearers of Clogau, wherever they go and whatever they’re doing, they’ll always have a reminder of what really matters, close to hand.
This strategy first came to life in April with a TV ad during the first national lockdown due to COVID-19, when we communicated that it’s not jewellery or possessions that matter, but in fact the love shared amongst family and friends.
“As a brand that helps us navigate back to what really matters when we’ve lost our way in the world, we explored a number of ideas that could bring this to life at Christmas.” says Head of Planning, Sarah Mason.
“The idea that stood out for us most was the unattainable quest for perfection.
“When December rolls around, it’s easy to get consumed and distracted by choosing perfect gifts, decorating the perfect tree and cooking up the perfect Christmas lunch.
“But building upon Clogau’s brand idea, we wanted to take the pressure off this Christmas and communicate the thought that Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect – rather it’s who you share it with that really matters.”
O Christmas Tree
Remember the first time you went to visit Santa and your parents thought it would be an idyllic moment with a photo to treasure forever? Well, they still treasure the photo, but in reality, the jolly man in the red suit terrified you and the picture is more like something from a horror movie scene.
Or how about that Christmas decoration you made in primary school that’s still your pride and joy so mum hangs it on the tree to this day (just perhaps around the back as not to ruin the aesthetic…)
Christmas can be imperfectly perfect.
“We know emotional storytelling is the best way to create effective advertising, so a human story felt like the right angle to best broaden brand appeal, making for the most memorable work.” says Creative Lead, David Warfield.
Starring Clogau ambassador Gethin Jones and using a premium aesthetic to demonstrate a relatable scenario, we are taken through the story of a family collecting their Christmas tree for the festive season, planning to emulate the perfectly decorated version as featured in a magazine.
“Of course, things never go that smoothly in real life and instead, we see the highs and lows as the tree is put up.” adds David.
“It’s a nightmare to get through the front door; the lights are in a tangled mess; the baubles have smashed, and it doesn’t really fit the space it was intended for.”
“So, when our mum holds up the magazine for one final time to assess their handiwork, the family’s tree is somewhat lacklustre.”
“But, as we end on a scene of the family smiling and laughing together, staring at their beloved and dishevelled tree, it all becomes clear.
“Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect… It’s who you share it with that really matters.”
While the ad was shot in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines (as the Welsh weather treated our crew to torrential rain and strong winds) another Coronavirus barrier to overcome was the soundtrack.
“We knew that the perfect complement to our visuals would be a choir,” says Dan Veal, “not only would it showcase the brand as Welsh and proud, but also shine a spotlight on the Welsh language and provide a further opportunity to cut through to our audience.
“After reaching out to Cwmbach Male Choir and holding a meeting with the committee, they agreed to get involved.”
The problem? Restrictions meant there was no way the choir could come together in one room to perform. So, enter composer, Nathan Jones, whose virtual approach saw him bring together individual recordings of ‘Ding Dong Merrily On High’ before collating them through technical wizardry into a choral performance.
Nathan says, “Music in Christmas adverts is always a highlight of the season – and creating new, modern arrangements of old songs for traditional ensembles is one of the jobs I enjoy most as a vocal arranger. To be given the opportunity to write this version and have it recorded by one of the best male choirs in Wales is a privilege, especially this year.”
“We couldn’t be happier with the result!” adds Dan, who went through something of an episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ during production – discovering his great grandfather was in fact one of the founding members of the choir.
The TV ad will air from today, Monday 9th November, across ITV Wales, West and Granada and will also feature during the opening night of ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’ – which, for one year only, will see a host of famous faces arrive at Gwrych Castle in Abergele, just a few miles from where the advert itself was shot.
…And All The Trimmings
In true S3 style, alongside TV, the campaign will be supported across digital, OOH, VOD and accompanied by a two-month social activation campaign to drive social following and increase brand affiliation and engagement.
For a retail brand like Clogau, it’s important to communicate at the right time, at key moments of emotional importance. If you need help delivering the right message to your audience at the right time, get in touch with S3 Advertising agency today.
- Account Management – Bryony Fenton, Ceri Forsdick
- Strategy & Planning – Sarah Mason
- Creative Ideation – David Warfield, Ben Horder
- Script Writing – David Warfield
- Storyboarding – Ben Horder
- Director, Producer – Dan Veal
- Co-Producer – Bryony Fenton
- DOP – Ruaraid Achilleos-Sarll
- 1st AC – Adam Davies
- Lighting – Firebug lighting
- Makeup – MakeupByVaun
- Costume – Script to screen
- Editor – Dan Veal
- VFX – Tom Parsons, Bait Studios
- Sound – Cranc
- Musical arrangement – Nathan Jones
- Musical performers – Cwmbach Male Voice Choir
- Photography – Ben Horder
- Media Planning and Buying – Georgia Holmes