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Small Businesses Make a Triumphant Covid Comeback on Channel 4

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Armoury take over Channel 4's prime time ad space to get small businesses moving after the Covid-19 pandemic
Small Businesses Make a Triumphant Covid Comeback on Channel 4

The events of the past year have challenged small businesses like never before. From tailors to barbers and beyond, the fine margins and fierce competition of the High Street have been compounded by Covid. Letting Agents cannot pivot to mask making.  

With restrictions now lifting, it is time for those businesses to stage their triumphant Covid Comebacks. And what better way to begin than with a prime-time television commercial on Channel 4? 

Yes, it’s time for your regional alpaca farm to appear in between episodes of Come Dine With Me and your local pub to interrupt Grand Designs. 

Recorded under Covid conditions and cast via open submissions inspired by Channel 4’s TV teaser, six of Armoury’s most sought-after directors have created commercials to be broadcast during key ad breaks in the C4 schedule. Each 30 second script written by Armoury creative director Jack Laurance pairs local charm with big advertising tropes to create a rift in the TVC paradigm; the independent Davids have finally taken their place among the corporate giant Goliaths. 

In a first-of-its-kind advertising underdog story, the little guy gets long overdue airtime. Because in their postcodes, these shops, services and animal sanctuaries are essential, characterful contributors to the community. Sure, Amazon is convenient, but when was the last time Jeff Bezos let you pat his alpaca? Or hosted a Zoom pub quiz while you poured your own shandies? 

“This was a really unusual opportunity to create ads for businesses who don’t typically have the budgets to advertise on TV, so there was some instant karma in that, which everyone really got behind. We wanted to celebrate the differences between these local businesses as much as possible by creating stylised interpretations of each one. So a Pub became a Pub Quiz Game Show, a Florist became a Kung Fu Flower arranger and so on. 

Working with these small business owners was the really fun part. These were real people not used to the filming process or with acting experience. It was absolutely key for the overall tone of the campaign that the integrity, humility and tenacity of our characters shone through. I think this is what distinguishes these films from typical TV advertising” – Jack Laurance, creative director at Armoury. 

With the help of the big brands who lent the campaign their broadcasting real estate – Coca-Cola, Rightmove, Lloyd’s Bank, BoughtByMany Pet Insurance, and American Express - Armoury’s latest collection of films reflect the Covid-inspired revival of the community spirit that has enabled the featured small businesses to thrive for decades. 

Filmed over six rollercoaster days, across countrywide locations, and under strict safety guidelines, C4’s Covid Comebacks represents the first all-hands Armoury project since the dawn of the new current normal. 

“This was an amazing opportunity to work with C4 again that we just couldn’t turn down. This wasn’t our first shoot out of lockdown but if felt like are our first real comeback production and getting the Armoury family back together was like a lovely big, socially distant, production hug for us all. Very proud of our team and our amazing crew.” - Matt Hichens, producer at Armoury.

We could only make six films, but the campaign message resonates in every corner of the country.

Mr Yankey director (Barbers) said: “Kool Kut Barbers and Ollie are almost one of the same, they're both full of character, incredibly vibrant and a lot of fun so it was important to visualise that in the ad.

Ollie's character bleeds into his business, so getting to know him really helped me understand how to bring the spot together. Ollie's got skills with some clippers and a blade, but his lyrical and performance skills were equally as impressive. He laid down his own vocals for real; a true talent and a pleasure to collaborate with”.

Ben Perry director (Tailors): “It’s always lovely to work on a film that has champions local, independent businesses. After lockdown, it’s nice to get back to work and I couldn’t think of a more fun, fabric filled project to get stuck into. Hannah, Eloise and the whole crew had a great laugh making this film. The girls even let us use their extensive collection of buttons for the finale”.

Stuart Elliot director (Alpaca): “With every passing car slowing down to catch a glimpse of the alpacas, it quickly became apparent that Linsay's gang are local stars. So it's great that we can help to get the word out to the wider world that Larch Green Alpacas are back with a bang.  I'm also delighted that I managed to pick up a few dance moves from Walter and the gang”.


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Channel 4 Team

Creative strategist: Adam Denton

Branded entertainment and creative leader: Sophie Lloyd

Creative Strategy and PL4Y Lead: Charlotte Roland

Directors

Director (Tailors): Ben Perry

Director (Alpacas): Stuart Elliot

Director (Estate Agent): Will Williamson

Director (Florist): Otis Dominique

Director (Pub): Jack Laurance

Director (Barbers): Mr Yankey

Creative

Creative Director: Jack Laurance

MD / Producer: Matt Hichens

Production Manager: Robyn Warwick

Production Assistant: Molly Bolton

Exec Producer: Clare Gibson

Production

DOP: Chris Clarke

DOP: Will Hanke

Editor: James Demetriou

Editor: Owen Oppenheimer

Sound: Brendan Crehan

VFX: Louis Hvejsel Bork

Genres: Comedy, People, Dialogue

Categories: Media and Entertainment, TV and Radio

Armoury, Mon, 03 Aug 2020 16:00:26 GMT