Holiday Campaign Interview: Heathrow Bears Christmas

"Everything looked better in the sixties."


Ben Mooge
Executive Creative Director Havas London
Lynsey Atkin
Creative Director Havas London
In a few words, tell us about your role in the creation of "Heathrow Bears Christmas"


Ben worked on the ad last year, Lynsey jumped on the furry bandwagon this year to help tell the Bairs’ prequel.
What was the original brief for this campaign?
The brief was simply to bring the Bairs back for a second year, to yet again bring to life the emotion of returning home to friends and family at Heathrow at Christmas time.
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
The decision to go from sequel to prequel was quite an easy one. The most charming elements of last year’s campaign really came from the small moments Edward and Doris shared as they navigated the airport – the glances, the quiet understanding. You see a partnership of two people (/bears) that’s clearly been years in the making. By the end of last year’s ad, you knew they were parents, knew they were grandparents. But you didn’t quite know how they’d got there. The story brief quickly became not ‘what happens next?’, but very much ‘what happened before?’

In tandem with this was presenting Heathrow as the unique and unchanging element. It has played the same role in people’s moments of Christmas reunion for seventy years, and being able to ‘go back in time’ celebrates that.
How difficult was it to sell the idea to Heathrow Airport?
Our client cried in the first presentation.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the process?
Telling a story spanning fifty years, in two minutes, with central characters who don’t employ facial expressions. The sheer logistics of the production, from sourcing original 60’s aircraft, to rebuilding an authentic mid-century arrivals area in a disused terminal, to building thirty different bears who change outfits, haircuts and age just like the rest of us. This was thankfully handled with the talent, craft and patience of DOM&NIC, Outsider and The Mill.
What did you learn from the experience?
Everything looked better in the sixties.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?
RAF Duxford is an amazing place. They allowed us to turn around a DC-10 aeroplane, whilst owning the collection of buses, vans and luggage transporters you see on the tarmac in the sixties period – they are all real and in full working order. They are however, tiny.
What do you think the advertising industry's New Year’s resolution should be?
More fur.
What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time?
We’d like to present you with ‘The Bear and Hare R’ Us’. A beautifully crafted tale with the soundtrack to a generation.


Ben Mooge
Executive Creative Director Havas London
Lynsey Atkin
Creative Director Havas London