Dame Judi Dench Pranks Benedict Cumberbatch for Red Nose Day

A side of her we don't see often

Alongside Comic Relief, agency Pablo has developed "Funny Is Power," a U.K.-based multichannel campaign designed to get people motivated for Red Nose Day, which happens on March 19 this year.

Comic Relief, which uses comedians to raise money for helping children in poverty, has held biennial Red Nose Day telethons since 1986. They usually feature big-name talent; in this case, Pablo nailed down two British A-listers who, however good-natured they seem, aren't known for inspiring belly laughs: Dame Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Red Nose Day | Funny Is Power

This year's campaign is predicated on the idea that we could all use a laugh more than ever. In the spot, Dame Dench appears in a kind of classic save-the-children setup: She talks soberly about what it means to be human while dramatic music plays in the background.

"Seven billion people on the planet, seven billion hearts and minds," she powers on, as we're battered with inspirational images of the species. "Each of us with different desires, opinions, dreams. But the one thing that unites us all … is that this is pretty funny."

Next thing we know, she's putting a vacuum to an unsuspecting Cumberbatch's face, looking delighted when she aspires an almost stunning proportion of cheek.

It's the kind of lame joke you perform on siblings. But we can't disagree with her—we still find it pretty funny.

"We all have the power to give a funny, to fight back against the injustices of the world with the one weapon we all have—laughter," says Pablo creative director Nathalie Gordon.

The ad was directed by Sami Abusamra of Mister Tibbs, and is accompanied by a complete brand identity by the agency's lead designer, Mark Harrison, combining different elements of type, illustration and photography from Tom van Schelven. 

"Funny is Power" went live last week on TV, out-of-home, and video on-demand. It will until BBC One's Red Nose Day Night of TV, on the 19th of March.


Executive Creative Director: Dan Watts 
Creative Director: Nathalie Gordon 
Creative Director: Craig Ainsley 
Creatives: Amy Fasey & Jacob Hellstrom 
Design Lead: Mark Harrison 
Head of Planning: Mark Sng  
Managing Director: Gareth Mercer 
Head of Account Management: Harriet Knight 
Senior Account Manager: Kelly Watts 
Head of Production: Tom Moxham 
Agency Producer: Olivia Riddle 
Photographer: Tom van Schelven 
Production Company: Mister Tibbs 
Director: Sami Abusamra 
Producer: Carolina Rinali 
Director Of Photography: Henry Lockyear 
Editor: Matt Newman @ Trim 
Post-Production: Electric Theatre Collective 
Sound: Jonny Platt @ Wave 
Music : Audio Machine 

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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