Behind the Scenes of the new DFS Ad with Aardman

This news has been embargoed for a little while but I can finally share where I went a few weeks ago.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Aardman Studios in Bristol to see the brand new DFS advert actually in the making. I mean, literally it was all still being made and filmed whilst we were there.

still_02-0I must admit, I’ve seriously had my opinion on DFS changed in the last 6 months, and it’s not from going on trips with them, it’s from them sharing more of their background, history and ethos. It really is quite a different company to the one we know through the TV.

Like many companies at this time of year, DFS wanted to launch a special Christmas advert, and this one is VERY SPECIAL indeed. After months of planning, research and finally creating, the new DFS Christmas ad was aired on UK TV last night.

You can see the full ad HERE:

YouTube video

Going behind the scenes at the Aardman studios was quite a treat. I was literally star struck, walking around between a giant Shaun the Sheep and a larger than life Wallace and Gromit.

aardman-visit-with-shaunBut it was learning about the process that goes into making a short advert like this that really got my attention.

Steve Harding-Hill, the Creative Director, told us how a team from Aardman had visited various DFS factories and offices, interviewing the staff and recording their answers. From this, Aardman was able to choose 14 real life members of DFS staff on which to base the advert characters. You can find out more about them HERE.

The dialogue captured in the interview recordings is actually the dialogue used in the film. This is a well-known technique that Aardman uses for its films and gives it a realism that a scripted voice-over never could.

dfs-ad-charactersSo yes, these cute characters are actually based on real life DFS employees. And in our tour, I got to see exactly how the figures are made.

Firstly they start off looking a little like this:

aardman-dfs-modelThen there’s a kind of moodboard for each character to get the outfit just right.

gary-moodboard-dfs-adAnd finally they look like this:


aardman-dfs-characterThey even made the sofas out of DFS fabric for the piece, and they’re so striking up close and in real life.

ad-sofaNow I wasn’t able to take any shots of the actual set being filmed (that’s all very top-secret) but chatting to the animator it was clear we were seeing something very special being created.

So shall I show you the ad one more time? What do you think? Is it interesting to see a behind the scenes story of how something like this was made? Mostly I’m taken with the concept of using real UK employees to help convey the message that these are handmade sofas (and they really are, I’ve seen that myself) made by a British company here in the UK.

So one more time! Here’s the new DFS ad:

YouTube video

Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram

1 Comment

  1. Stacey Sheppard
    November 2, 2016 / 9:01 pm

    This is so cool. I love Aardman and their animations. They are so clever. I’ve read a few posts about DFS now and I have to say I have a much bigger appreciation for their products now that I know a bit more of the story behind them.

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