A brand name like Aunt Bessie’s asks for an old-fashioned “heartwarming” commercial. So Grey London has played all the traditional, emotive cards in its story for the Birds Eye UK brand about a grandma’s Sunday roasts – but it has added a surprise. Yes, the emotional tug is a tad overdone but only the hardest cynics could fail to be caught up in its message.
The TVC, directed by Tom Green, is in fact inspired by a true story – that of June, the much-loved nan of creative director Chris Clarke. June was certified blind at 16 and yet cared for her entire family, always providing a stand-out Sunday roast without missing a beat.
The story underlines the brand’s new positioning and tagline, Caring is the Hardest Thing We do. The brief for the campaign was simple, Grey notes – to “get more Aunt Bessie’s food onto the dinner plates of the nation, driving growth across the entire roast dinner category”.
Both agency and client were passionate about delivering a truly authentic film and retaining the integrity of what was so special about Chris’s nan. For this reason, Julie Bennett, a genuinely blind grandma, with no prior acting experience, was cast in the lead role. Julie spent just half a day on set familiarising herself with it before the shoot itself.
The TVC is running nationally in the UK.
Chris Clarke commented, “We all know someone who cares, no matter what. For me, it was my Nanna June. A legend in every sense of the word. This platform celebrates her, and all those other wonderful people who simply can’t help but care. Those people who bring the family together every Sunday, with roast beef and Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshires.”
Sarah Koppens, marketing director at Birds Eye UK, added, “We had a sense of how special this story was from the moment Chris and Matt presented it in mid-February. Given everything that has happened since that time, the sentiment captured within the ad couldn’t be more relevant. Caring for others is a fundamental way in which we connect and demonstrate our love – but that’s not to say it’s always easy to do. We were thrilled that Tom (Green) wanted to work with us, celebrating the human truth in the story and doing such a beautiful of shining a light on it.”
Creative Agency: Grey London
Creative Chairman: Javier Campopiano
Chief Creative Officer: Laura Jordan Bambach
Creative Directors: Matt Moreland & Chris Clarke
Copywriters: Chris Clarke, Matt Moreland & Jesse Little
Art Director: Chris Clarke
Strategic Planners: Bhavin Pabari, Daniel Sherrard & Gilliam Caldwell-Dunn
Business Lead: Agi Varanyi
Business Director: Charlotte Coughlan
Account Director: Natasha Thomas
Account Manager: Harriet Giles
Agency Production: Hogarth Worldwide
Agency Producer: Eira Ellis 7 Greg Smyth
Production Company: Stink Films
Production Company Producer: Molly Pope
Director: Tom Green
DOP: James Laxton
Production Design: Catrin Meredydd
Offline Producer: Noreen Khan
Editor: James Forbes-Robertson
Colourist: Ben Rogers
Post Producer: Claire Lifford
VFX Artist: Owen Maiden
Composer: Samuel Karl Bohn
Music Supervisor: Jeremy Newton
Artist Management: Hummingbird Music
Lead Sound Engineer: Zak Kurtha
Post Sound Producer: Claire Lifford
Client: Aunt Bessie’s (Nomad Foods)
Marketing Director UK: Sarah Koppens
Head of Brand: Sam Dolan