Moments ago, four major British broadcasters joined together to air the same two-minute commercial simultaneously—across a total of 21 of their networks—delivering a message about how television brings people together in times of uncertainty.
BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 were the participating broadcasters. The spot, titled "Our Stories," was created by London agency Uncommon Creative Studio, which was awarded the job following innovative work it's done over the past several years for ITV. Sam Walker of Pulse Film directed.
See the work here:
Television certainly has become even more of a social anchor for people during the Covid-19 pandemic. And while a lofty view of TV's role in people's lives would have been unthinkable little more than a decade ago, it's now standard thinking that storytelling on television indeed has the power to capture the richness of life and change people's perspectives on deep issues.
"British TV reflects and shapes our culture and who we are," says Nils Leonard, co-founder at Uncommon Creative Studio. "Our debates, our conversations, our communities and our characters are all reflected in the stories we watch every day. These are our stories. British TV matters—now more than ever. This cultural moment is the kind of brief we built the studio to make. We're very proud to bring this moment to bear for our collective broadcasters."
There is, of course, another big reason the spot likely resonated with viewers. The realities depicted in scripted (and even some reality) British TV shows are largely entertaining and edifying—in stark contrast to real life today in Britain, whose shambolic response to Covid-19 has cast a pall over the nation, much as it has in the U.S. Reality is indeed stranger than fiction these days, which makes fiction all the more comforting.
The free-to-air broadcasters also point out that they support and invest in the U.K. creative economy, commissioning shows from independent production companies across the country.
The spot includes clips from the BBC's Blue Planet II, Fleabag, Strictly Come Dancing, I May Destroy You, BBC News and BBC Sport, EastEnders, Man Like Mobeen and Normal People; ITV's Britain's Got Talent, Harry's Heroes, This Morning, Coronation Street, Quiz, ITV News and ITV Sport; Channel 4's Paralympics, Great British Bake Off, Ackley Bridge, Channel 4 News, Gogglebox and Derry Girls; and Channel 5's The Yorkshire Vet, Cruising with Jane McDonald, New Lives in the Wild with Ben Fogle, Channel 5 News, Cold Call and Around the World by Train with Tony Robinson.
Some 21 individual stations, all run by the four broadcasters, aired the spot between 8:58 and 9 p.m. on Wednesday night (3:58 and 4 p.m. ET). They were: BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, STV, S4C, 4Seven, E4, More4, Film4, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, ITVBe, 5STAR, 5USA, 5Select, Paramount Network, and BBC Four. It will also continue to play across all channels throughout the month.
"Uncommon have achieved the extraordinary over the past few weeks," says Rufus Radcliffe, chief marketing officer and director of direct to consumer at ITV. "They have created a beautiful, inspiring film bringing to life the power of public service television—all shot and produced whilst complying with Covid regulations. They expertly led and inspired all the broadcasters to take a leap of faith, and the result speaks for itself—the power and impact of public service television beautifully articulated by the thought 'Our stories are your stories.' "
Campaign Name: Our Stories
Clients: BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5
Creative Agency: Uncommon Creative Studio
Production company: Pulse Films
Director: Sam Walker
Managing Director / Executive Producer: James Sorton
Producer: Neil Andrews
DoP: Jaime Feliu-Torres
Production Designer: Tim Gibson
Production Managers: Ben Burdock & Aaron Blackmore
Editors: Nathan Coetzee & Lewis Noll @ Underdog
Editors Assistant: Dom Rippl @ Underdog
Audio Post Production: Soundtree Music
Head of Music: Luis Almau
Sound Designer and Mixer: Tom Joyce and Henning Knoepfel
Executive Producer: Jay James
Post Production: Electric Theatre Collective
Colourist: Luke Morrison
VFX lead: James Belch
2D Artists: Taran Spear, Tane Welham, CJ Gaikwad, Nicola Bosari, Christian Block & Kia Coates
3D Artists: James Waterhouse & James Trimby
Post Producer: Jon Purton
Music Track: "Chrome Country" from the album R Plus Seven
Artist: Oneohtrix Point Never
Composer: Daniel Lopatin
Label: Warp Records
Publisher: Warp Publishing
Warp Licensing: Lucy James
VO Artist: Genesis Elijah (Wake The Town)
Additional Credit: Sir Antony Gormley - Angel of the North, 1998. Commissioned by the Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, Gateshead, England