Christmas Ad Season in Britain Gets Off to an Epic Musical Start

Argos channels Simple Minds in drum-themed film

It's only Nov. 1, but get ready for the annual onslaught of British Christmas adverts. And here's the first one of note, released this morning—a joyful three-minute musical film from catalog retailer Argos, set to the iconic 1985 Simple Minds track "Don't You (Forget About Me)." 

Dad is sitting in his kitchen one snowy evening, looking through the Argos catalog—which is evidently tradition at this time of year in Britain. We see a kid has circled a drum kit in the catalog—which sends Dad into a bit of a reverie. Which suddenly becomes a full-fledged fantasy and an exuberant musical number starring the father and his daughter—who, it turns out, is one hell of a drummer already. 

Argos Christmas advert 2019 | The Book of Dreams

The&Partnership, which created the piece, originally presented the idea to the client with "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics, from 1983, as the track, according to SHOTS. (It had to be a song that a Gen Xer would love, but would also be fun for kids to discover today.) 

They ended up looking at tracks from the '70s up through the '90s. "We knew we needed an iconic and timeless track that everyone, from all backgrounds, could relate to, and the '80s turned out to be the sweet spot," says creative Arthur Harry. 

Traktor, no stranger to advertising extravaganzas, were brought on board to direct. Which left the question of the talent. And in the end, they found the perfect young heroine in Nandi Bushell, a 9-year-old prodigy from Ipswich, whose drumming exploits include jamming with Lenny Kravitz at the O2 Arena this summer. She also has more than 50,000 Instagram followers.

Fun fact for British advertising devotees: Bushell also appeared in adam&eveDDB's famous "Bohemian Rhapsody" spot for John Lewis and Waitrose last year—she's the drummer who rises out of the ground at the 1:21 mark. 

The agency producers "showed us some Instagram videos of Nandi and we knew we'd found her," creative Ludo Thomas tells SHOTS. "She was just unreal, and even better in person. Then Omar [the dad] came in, and he could also drum, and the two of them just clicked. They looked great together and had wicked chemistry." 

In all, it's quite the epic beginning to the season for British Christmas ads, which are often described as a kind of Super Bowl-like creative showcase. Let's hope there's more good stuff on the way. 

CREDITS

Client: Argos
Agency: The&Partnership, London
CEO: Sarah Golding
Executive Creative Directors: Yan Elliott, Micky Tudor
Creative Director: Danny Hunt
Creatives: Ludo Thomas, Arthur Harry
Head of Planning: Rebecca Munds
Senior Planner: Claire Carmichael
Managing Director: Gary Simmons
Account Director: Lucy Almond
Account Manager: Hannah Gray
Senior Producer: Andy Roberts
Producer: Alfie Glover-Short
Media Agency: PHD
Production Company: Stink Films
Director: Traktor
Producers: Traktor, Richard Ulfvengren
Producers: Icon Films, Millen Nickolov
Director of Photography: Joost van Gelder
Editor: Ryan Beck, Final Cut
Production Designers: Nick Foley Oates, Eva Vento
Post Production: MPC
Colourist: Jean-Clement Soret
Shoot Supervisor: Kamen Markov
VFX Supervisor: Jake Nelson
Producer: Phil Whalley
Song: "Don't You (Forget About Me)"
Artist: Simple Minds
Music Supervision Company: Leland Music
Music Supervisors: Codie Childs
Music Arranger: Chris Hill
Drum Supervisor: Brad Webb
Sound Designer: Munzie Thind @ Grand Central

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and the founding editor of Muse by Clio.

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