A British TV Network Ran Knitted Versions of Well-Known Spots for an Entire Ad Break

Cozy up to an award-winning creative idea

In work you may have missed last year, here's a crafty campaign from British TV network ITV, which is riding fresh exposure after winning a Silver Lion in Film Craft at Cannes last month. 

The network's in-house team, ITV Creative, meticulously recreated well-known ads from various advertisers, using knitted wool and stop-motion animation. The commercials aired in a block on Dec. 18 during ITV's annual Text Santa program, which raises funds for organizations like Macmillan Cancer Support, Make-A-Wish U.K. and Save the Children.

This so-called "Knitted Ad Break" was devised because the show's theme revolves around a holiday sweater. The spots, immediately recognizable to viewers in knitted form, were chosen based on the team's ability to quickly and effectively transport the storylines into a woolen world. (Ads using explosions, water imagery, frenetic action or requiring numerous quick cuts weren't attempted.) 

Six advertisers agreed to have their then-current spots reimagined: Amazon Prime, British Gas, BT, DFS, Dreams and Nationwide. They paid the standard commercial fee … and an additional fixed rate to cover creative costs. 

The puppet makers at Mackinnon & Saunders achieved impressively engaging results. Check out the ads below. (Warning: If you thought Amazon's tiny-horse commercial was cray-cray adorbs, ITV's take on that yarn might have you jabbing knitting needles in your eyes. It's that unbearably cute!)

"There's no special effects in any of them," ITV Creative production chief Katie Carew told Creative Review back when the knitted ad break debuted. "It would have been a simpler route, but it didn't really have the craft in it we were after."

ITV drew inspiration from its its vaunted February 2014 stunt for The Lego Movie, where four British ads were rendered entirely in that brand's plastic bricks and tiles. "These ideas don't come up very often," ITV account sales manager Kim Golroy told Campaign. "You can't force them. If it's contextually strong and relevant, it writes itself." 

Indeed, the knitted spots have a vibrant, cozy feel that's snugly attuned to a yuletide charity show, giving advertisers an added boost for a snuggly soft sell. 

CREDITS

ECD: Tony Pipes
Head of Production: Katie Carew
Head of Account Management: Victoria Findlay
Producer: Janet Smith
Director: Tobias Fouracre
DOP: Malcolm Hadley
Art Director: Andrew Farago
Puppet Makers: Mackinnon & Saunders
Postproduction: Envy