Give us an overview of the campaign. What is it about and what was your role in the creation?
As part of its unlimited offering, Virgin Media wanted to partner with Virgin’s family brands to celebrate and reward its customers this Christmas with unlimited generosity. The brief was for an integrated digital campaign exclusively for Virgin Media customers that delivered amazing daily prizes every day for 24 days in the run up to Christmas. And on the big day one lucky winner would win all 24 prizes in a Christmas day ‘Mega Pressie Pot’!
Was the brief for this holiday campaign any different that than the usual? What challenges did that present?
Christmas is a time for families to come together. And this one was going to be extra special – It’s the first time the Virgin family of brands have joined together.
And planning a family get together on this scale is always tricky. Rock Hound Production and Big Buoy stepped up to bring the idea to life within the super tight timings. Creative was finalised at the end of October. Production started the week after and the campaign went live on the 28th November.
The main challenge was finding someone who would deliver our vision of our Giftmother. We wanted a drag queen but not any drag queen and in an inspired bit of casting Rock Hound secured Cheryl Hole fresh from BBC 3’s Drag Race UK. There was a mountain of green screen post production and CGI to develop to bring the idea to life. Plus a team of editors, sound technicians and designers working almost around the clock to create the suite of VODs, emails, social media, digital media, retail and website comms needed for the 25 days.
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
We were looking for a concept that would celebrate Virgin Media’s generosity during the season of giving. A concept that was broad enough to include all members of the Virgin family but targeted specifically at Virgin Media customers.
Virgin Media’s brand ‘swirl’ became the virtual tinsel on our tree which was our analogy for supercharging customers’ Christmasses. Our protagonist takes it to the next level and delivers our generosity message…enter our Giftmother.
We transformed her from an ordinary fairy on top of a Christmas tree into a sassy Giftmother complete with a super glam look and tone of voice to match. She delivers every single one of our unlimiting Christmas messages in a way only Virgin Media could.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?
Cheryl Hole was an absolute superstar. She totally embraced the character of our supercharged Giftmother and made it her own. Her performance was even more amazing given that on shoot day two she basically stood on a wooden box in front of a green screen for the best part of 10 hours nailing script after script… all in full makeup and Giftmother costume.
Are there any holiday ad tropes that you think should be retired by now?
Hilarious dogs wearing antlers. Slowed down, re-arranged cover versions of 90’s indie tunes. And pretty much all perfume and eau de toilette ads. Bah Humbug!
What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time?
The Long wait – John Lewis. Still trumps anything they’ve done and most others since.
And it’s a toss up between Ikea and Argos for best Christmas ad this year.
What can we expect from your agency in 2020?
More impactful ideas, smarter use of data and technology delivered at scale.
Ultimately, more engaging work that creates value from every individual’s experience with the brand.
What do you think the advertising industry's New Year’s resolution should be?
To be more entertaining.