Projects: Tesco Responds To Disappointed Tweet With Giant Wall Of Christmas

November 21, 2014 by Dave Haynes

Immersive_8 Million Christmas Lights_PR_Photo

The London-based experiential design studio Immersive did a pretty spectacular Christmas promotion for grocer giant Tesco in the northern England town of Wigan, responding a tweet about a missing Christmas element on the local store by installing some 500 sq metres of panels holding more than 8 million LED lights.

The stunt was for A TV ad spot, of course, as well as generating viral video plays and shares.

Says the news release:

The advert debuted during the season finale of Downtown Abbey. Thousands of viewers across Britain saw it marking the end of a weekend of television packed with the infamous Christmas adverts from major retailers, including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Argos and Asda.

The Christmas advert is the most talked about commercial advert in the UK. John Munro, CEO of Immersive, comments: “During a visit to the US, I experienced the whirlwind around Super Bowl adverts…it seems like the UK has always had the same kind of passion for our Christmas campaigns.”

Being involved in something so grand as a major retailers Christmas advert caught Immersive coverage on popular newspapers such as The Mirror and The Guardian. The Mirror’s review exclaims the show “can only be described as the most spectacular lights show since the London 2012 Olympics.”

The 60-second advert shows Christmas lights being switched on in households and Tesco stores as the build up to the moment when more than 800 local Wigan residents experience the sparkling winter wonderland.

The transformation of the Wigan storefront, as part of Tesco’s ‘Every little helps make Christmas’ campaign, aimed to bring Christmas spirit to a town that local Claire Hannah thought Tesco overlooked. Her tweet about disappointment over the Wigan Tesco store sign missing the green Christmas party hat decoration caught the attention of Tesco’s agency Widen + Kennedy, who enlisted Immersive through Partizan to create the event in response. “This inspired us to film part of our Christmas TV ad in the town and help start the residents’ festive celebrations with a bang,” says Sharry Cramond, Proposition and Brand Director at Tesco. The event culminates with the green hat being placed on the store. The green hat appears on over 700 Tesco stores across the country.

Claire Hannah was astounded: “I couldn’t believe my tweet has been noticed. It’s amazing, Tesco has done a really lovely thing for the town, and I’m so chuffed our Tesco has the green hat this year!”

Immersive are pleased that Tesco provisioned a show of community spirit. John Munro expresses pleasure over working on “a Christmas visual overload style that is in homage to the over-decorated homes that make Christmas such a fun spectacle. The tongue in cheek concept to go to big was a nod to those folks who really go to town with the Christmas spirit.”

All together the show consisted of: 13 penguins, 6 Christmas puddings, 8 2D reindeer, 9 3D reindeer, 6 Santa faces, 9 swans, 98 shopping trollies, more a kilometre of rope light, 8 x 4M Christmas trees, 1 x 5M Christmas trees, 10 x 1M Christmas trees…not to mention the many kilometres of electrical cable to connect it all up.

The lighthearted approach to the advert embraced the comedy that often accompanies such Christmas stunts, making it a real treat for the Immersive crew. “It is not often that humor is used on a project of this scale,” says John Munro. He considers the crowds’ priceless reactions the biggest highlight from working on the project.

Producing the event in half of the ordinary timescale for such a large-scale installation was hard work, requiring 36 crew working on-site around the clock, but for John Munro this was not the biggest challenge.

“We often work on huge scales to short deadlines and live audiences, so this project came with the usual set of challenges that we often come across and are used to; but a new and surprising challenge for us was to take our high-end 3D animation team and get them to think in terms of 2/3 frame animations to create very traditional minimal looking Christmas decoration animation. We kept having to pull back our ideas and styles to make them fit in with the aesthetic. It’s funny how creating simple a simple look and feel can often be quite challenging!”

Overall however, this project was “a really nice way for us to bring in this Christmas season to our studio.”

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