These Small Businesses Were Given Free, Quirky TV Ads in Prime Time to Help After Lockdown

U.K.'s Channel 4 gave high-value spots to a florist, pub, barbershop and alpaca farm

Still from one of the Armoury spots
The series of six spots celebrate the individuals behind small British businesses. Armoury
Headshot of Sara Spary

Thanks to its prohibitive cost, national TV advertising is usually the preserve of major brands and businesses that can afford it.

But with many companies having hemorrhaged money during the coronavirus lockdown, small businesses have also needed a helping hand on a major scale–which Channel 4 recognized when it handed over prime-time TV ad slots to a bunch of British businesses.

London ad agency Armoury produced a series of quirky ads as part of a takeover on the broadcast channel. The agency developed six 30-second films: for a barbershop, estate agent, florist, tailors, pub and… an alpaca farm.

The ads star the business owners and employees, showcasing the individuals behind Britain’s hard-hit establishments.

The ads first aired on July 31 and were repeated again today. Space was donated courtesy of advertisers including Coca-Cola, Rightmove, Lloyd’s Bank, BoughtByMany Pet Insurance and American Express.

Jack Laurance, Armoury’s creative director, said the team, who filmed all the ads over “six rollercoaster days” wanted to celebrate the differences between the local businesses in the creative “by creating stylized interpretations of each one.”

“Working with these small business owners was the really fun part. These were real people not used to the filming process or with acting experience,” Laurance said. “It was absolutely key for the overall tone of the campaign that the integrity, humility and tenacity of our characters shone through. I think this is what distinguishes these films from typical TV advertising.”

CREDITS: 

Director (tailors): Ben Perry
Director (alpacas): Stuart Elliot
Director (estate agent): Will Williamson
Director (florist): Otis Dominique
Director (pub): Jack Laurance
Director (barbers): Mr Yankey
Creative director: Jack Laurance
MD / producer: Matt Hichens
Production manager: Robyn Warwick
Production assistant: Molly Bolton
Exec producer: Clare Gibson
DOP: Chris Clarke
DOP: Will Hanke
Editor: James Demetriou
Editor: Owen Oppenheimer
Sound: Brendan Crehan
VFX: Louis Hvejsel Bork

Channel 4 Team
reative strategist: Adam Denton
Branded entertainment and creative leader: Sophie Lloyd
Creative strategy and PL4Y lead: Charlotte Roland.


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@saramayspary sara.spary@adweek.com Sara Spary is a freelance journalist based in London. She's been a reporter for eight years, covering advertising and consumer brands.
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