I am delighted to say that my new Sainsbury’s TV advert goes live tomorrow, Wednesday 8th January. As yet, I don’t know exactly during which programmes but I hope to know some time during the day tomorrow.
It’s funny to look at the advert now and think that the 40 seconds of it are a result of 3 months of work, a 16 hour shoot day and, at a conservative estimate, the work of over 150 people. On the day of the shoot alone there were over 80 people crammed into the house in Harlesden where we filmed the video!
Thankfully the day was shorter for Archie and Matilda – they were there for about four hours in total, which is the maximum time by law they were allowed to be present. Part of me thinks their highlight was actually getting to eat lunch on the top deck of the double decker catering bus. They loved that! Matilda was also thrilled to be given two fairy outfits by the director but took some convincing not to wear them immediately as they weren’t *quite* the look they were hoping for in the final advert!
I think what surprised me the most about the day was the attention to detail. I probably ran through my recipe five or six times in total, all from different camera angles. Continuity was a very important part of the day. Each take had to follow on coherently from the previous one. This is where the “script bitch” came into her own (it’s what she called herself, I am not being rude here). Her job was to ensure perfect continuity, so she kept popping up with a pad in one hand and a digital camera in the other. If the butternut squash had been pointing at 45 degrees to the left in the morning shoot, it had to do exactly the same in the afternoon too.
I also managed to live up to my old nickname in France of “Monsieur Catastrophe”. Advertisers have what they call the “hero” shot. It’s basically the best shot of the recipe. My hero shot was the roast and, after using nearly a dozen pork roasts during the day of filming, the hero roast was finally brought in, looking utterly amazing. My job was to be filmed taking it in and out of the oven. Simple enough you’d think – except I managed to drop the whole thing. Gasps in the kitchen. Scowls from the home economist. No-one dared look at me. I just looked at the floor, which was of course now covered in roast pork shoulder, gravy and vegetables. It was carefully mopped up, re-styled, and we were off again. After shooting the “roast-coming-out-of-oven” scene literally dozens of times, the day was finally over… and ironically that particular scene didn’t even make it into the final cut!
I think the most valuable lesson I learnt on the shoot is YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT ON EACH TAKE! Apparently experienced advert actors and actresses pretend to eat and then, well, spit out what’s left. I took it upon myself to eat all day long when I was asked to on camera. Much as I love a shoulder of pork roast, it took me a few weeks to be able to countenance eating one again after basically eating what seemed like a whole pig during that day in Harlesden.
Oh and one other random fact I learnt. Some people are employed just as HAND MODELS! Yes, they have such beautiful hands that they are used in adverts solely for their fingers. By all accounts, they spend their time with their hands in the air, to make sure there is not too much blood in the fingers. And the best hand artists get paid literally thousands of pounds. My stubby fingers definitely mean I don’t have a career as a hand artist to look forward to…
It goes without saying that the children – and in particular Archie – are very excited to be able to see this on actual television, although it has taken some explaining (and consoling) to help them understand that sadly Cbeebies will not be showing it. Archie is excited about his school mates seeing him on telly although he has also said he is worried that he sounds young… of course, he IS young but, as with so many kids I know of around his age, he is convinced he is 10 years older…
I do hope you like the advert when you see it for real on TV. I will be watching it, part filled with excitement, partly covering my eyes and hiding ever so slightly behind the sofa!
If you want to find out more about the campaign and meet the other food lovers who are involved, please head over to the Sainsbury’s Inspiration site here.
disclaimer: I was paid by Sainsbury’s to take part in this advertising campaign