The folks at Wieden + Kennedy love their spokescreatures.
Last year, for Cravendale milk, the London agency filmed a charming pack of scheming cats with a thirst for milk—and opposable thumbs. (ITV viewers voted it the best TV spot of 2011, and it was on Adweek's list of the year's 10 best ads, too.) Now, W+K is out with another sweet commercial starring hedgehogs to promote the virtues of Arla's Lactofree dairy products. The spiny beasts are told they can enjoy treats like latte, crumpets and pizza if they use Lactofree—because they're not intolerant to dairy, only to lactose, which is the the sugar in dairy.
A wonderful detail in both campaigns is the element of truth in the whimsy: Hedgehogs really are lactose intolerant, just as there really are polydactyl cats with a genetic mutation that gives them extra toes. "Hedgehogs are a gift from the advertising gods," says Hollie Newton, the W+K creative behind the Arla spot. "They are lactose intolerant, wonderful and very sweet." Still, she adds, "they are rubbish actors."
Of the five African Pygmy hedgehogs on set, half of them ran really fast, while the others would just curl up in a defensive ball. W+K built a little seat for the one with the Parisian latte, while the two with the pizza have their own tiny sofa. Newton, who's still not sure how the agency was able to attach the blue bow to the supermarket-shopping hedgehog, says she would never have wanted anything but the real creatures in the spot.
And the agency got a great souvenir: The miniature commercial set, with its six-inch milk aisle, is on display at the agency's gallery space.
Client: Arla Lactofree
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, London
Producer: Anna Smith
Creative Directors: Kim Papworth, Tony Davidson
Creative: Hollie Newton
Production Company: Stink
Director: Paul King
Producer: Andrew Levene
Director of Photography: Pete Ellmore
Editing Company: Cut & Run
Editor: Julian Tranquille
Postproduction: The Mill, London
Sound: Production Factory, Dan Beckwith