Stuart Clark

The creation of our new TV advert for Hoseasons starring Denise Van Outen

When the good people at Hoseasons asked us to come up with ideas for their flagship new TV ad for 2011, I was pretty excited. This was going to be the first time I had ever seen a TV ad all the way through from concept to execution. And to be fair, it didn’t take us long to come up with some ideas.

The main challenge was how to convey the breadth of the Hoseasons proposition in just 30 seconds. We started as most creatives do by asking ourselves a very simple question: just what is it that we’re trying to sell? The answer was more than a little daunting.

Squeezing a whole brand into half a minute

According to their website, Hoseasons offer the widest choice of holiday accommodation and activities available anywhere – everything from villas, cottages and lodges, to boats, holiday parks and apartments. Blimey, we thought, that’s a lot to squeeze into half a minute.

We also knew that one of the goals of the ad was to raise awareness. Hoseasons means different things to different people. Some people know them for their outdoor activity breaks, some for their sun-drenched villas, while older customers may remember their origins as a boating company. What we wanted to do was get the Hoseasons name associated with everything in their portfolio; to have people watch the ad and know that whatever type of holiday they enjoy, they’d find it through Hoseasons.

Inspiration from an unlikely source

I had this line going through my head, spoken by Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, on the trailer for Alice in Wonderland.

“There is a place, like no place on earth. Some say to survive it you need to be as mad as a hatter, which luckily, I am.”

Those first nine words seemed to really click with our proposition. They said, here is something you might not have heard of before, but it’s something you’ll want to explore. And following on from that, here is what you’ll find when you do – a visual showcase of the Hoseasons portfolio.

But we didn’t want to leave it there. In order for our ad to have the necessary impact we decided we’d need a celebrity to front it, someone who could play the role of enthusiastic spokesperson for the Hoseasons brand. And there was one name we wanted right from the start.

Director Chris Gaffey models a pair of fishing trousers during the filming of the Hoseasons TV CommercialThe lovely, bubbly, charming Denise

Denise Van Outen has a very high profile with the Hoseasons target market and her on-screen persona just seemed to sit perfectly with the kind of mood we were trying to create: bubbly, vivacious, effervescent and with a sunny disposition. So we were delighted when she agreed to take part.

Concept completed and celeb secured, it was time to turn our idea into a commercial. Trouble is we were going to be shooting a summer holiday ad… in the middle of winter. So it wasn’t so much a director we needed – it was a magician. Luckily for us, we managed to land someone whose work we’d admired for a while.

Chris Gaffey gets wet for the cause

Chris Gaffey was once a creative, so he understands how important it is to see things from a client’s perspective. He’s also sensitive to the fragile egos (mainly mine) of the people who put the concept together. But most of all, he’s directed some really beautiful adverts, which you can see here.

From the moment we received his treatment, we knew he’d be perfect. I think what sets Chris apart is his attention to detail. From standing in a freezing cold Welsh lake to create just the right kind of ripples, to ensuring the condensation on a bottle of champagne looked suitably sophisticated he makes sure everything is absolutely spot on.

I know he’s really happy with the finished commercial and we are too. It’ll have its TV premier during Corrie on Boxing Day. But if you can’t wait that long, why not have a look now below and see what you think.