Holiday Campaign Interview: Bring Merry Back

"We wanted to show girls and women being themselves, rather than a stereotype that’s often seen in advertising."


In a few words, tell us about your role in the creation of "Bring Merry Back"


As the ECD at 18 Feet, my role spanned everything from the initial planning stages, to the casting and scripting, to the execution.
What was the original brief for this campaign?
The brief from House of Fraser was very open - having worked with them for several years they asked us to go wild and come up with our own concept. We wanted to create an energetic and irreverent ad that kept the spirit of previous House of Fraser Christmas ads, but this time we wanted it to be executed in a slightly different way.

We decided that the world seemed a miserable place and we wanted to bring the merry back into Christmas. We want the ad to bring back that joy and excitement you felt as a kid before the big day.
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
The sisterly bond hasn’t been represented that much in advertising, probably because people aren’t sure how to write it convincingly. Girls don’t just sit there in pretty dresses, they cause havoc, throw things around, pull faces and have fun. We wanted to show girls and women being themselves, rather than a stereotype that’s often seen in advertising.
How difficult was it to sell the idea to House of Fraser?
It was a pretty simple process – we showed them the mood boards and played them the track and they were sold.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the process?
Working with children is always a challenge because you want to capture genuine moments and doing that requires patience but also bags of energy and enthusiasm. We all embraced our childish sides and wore fancy dress on set to put them at ease. We let them do whatever they wanted and we captured some amazing authentic moments as a result.
We got so lucky with the casting - the two girls in the ad are real sisters and they had an immediate bond with the older women, it was brilliant. We couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome
What did you learn from the experience?
The process was like nothing I’ve experienced before. We worked with the directors Vaughan and Anthea who have worked with the likes of George Michael, the Spice Girls and directed some iconic advertising like Levi’s Creek. It was their first job together in 20 years - they are very different people with diverse inspirations but this made the process so unique and magical. The passion they put into this really shows in the ad and I loved the experience of working with them.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?
All the clients are in the party scene at the end.
What do you think the advertising industry's New Year’s resolution should be?
A more realistic representation of women in advertising please.
What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time?
Holidays are Coming by Coca Cola.