Leo Burnett approached us in June with a very festive proposal - the opportunity to get involved in shooting a test film for their client’s (Morrisons) Christmas campaign. With the NDA signed and the ideas already forming, from the very start we knew this was going to be special.
What transpired was a brief to make 12 x 20 second TVCs that championed the various Christmas deals, bringing an abundance of character into these through the real heroes of Christmas, the trusty oven mittens.
In the initial stages of the shoot, we were in the running for one main ad as we immersed ourselves in a realm of lo-fi amusement, where the thrill of angle-grinding the backs of ovens, cutting holes in kitchen surfaces, and orchestrating the playful puppetry of oven gloves brought a delightful charm to the set. This became a beloved test ad, which not only resonated with audiences but out-performed in several consumer test groups, but there was a problem… The original music track couldn’t be licensed, so here started a rollercoaster of edits as the new job came of finding the right music track. Fast forward through multiple re-edits of different music tracks and multiple reshoots of singing oven gloves in different kitchens and we find out that the agency win the job with the song Starships “Nothings gonna stop us now”. The countdown to Christmas began.
But, where the brand ad had singing oven gloves, those characters we had found in testing were going to make their way into what would normally be quite dull food focused trade ads.
During our journey of playing around, we discovered distinctive personalities within each of the oven gloves, turning our experimentation into a hunt for genuine characters. This led to the recognition of our efforts, and were awarded a series of ads and various social films to accompany the main brand ad. But, we wanted to stray from the conventional focus on food in trade ads, and using the characters we uncovered during testing, we injected life and vibrancy into what would typically be the food-centric trade ad… All through oven gloves.
At face value this was a simple task, but there were hidden complexities, mostly down to the challenging output of 12 different ads, so we really had to be focused on the economies of scale with this brief. The food had to look perfect, the puppeteering had to be effortless, and we needed to feel like we were in real kitchens, that were also in keeping with the main brand ad and all this needed to be achieved in a small shooting window. So we had to be clever.
After testing a scaled back virtual production method we knew this was the way forward. Shooting each product on a table top with our oven mittens, we knew that things could be kept small and therefore achievable, so with an 85” screen placed in the background we could project our backdrops and switch out kitchens seamlessly just by changing out the table top, oven mittens, and backgrounds. Problem solved.
But, then there was the challenge of how we created cohesion to the main brand ad. We studied the art direction of the main ad, attended that shoot, photographed each set and then used AI and Photoshop to create backgrounds that go on the screen of our own shoot.
Working with Olly Taylor, a masterful puppeteer made the shoot a breeze, he brought so much more to the gloves than we had previously imagined when we were back in our own kitchens. Then came the great cast of voice over artists including David Morrisey (The Walking Dead) as the Turkey glove who continued to embellish the role and really create what we feel are a unique set of trade ads.
We established a really solid relationship with Leo Burnett, and got to work on a playful and creative brief with a big-name supermarket… And as a bonus, our mums got excited when the ads came on during Bake Off.
We’re really proud of these, and the client were super happy, so smiles all round.
(And hopefully they bring a smile to people's faces this Christmas as they shove a mince pie down their face)