Aardman is brought in by Thatchers cider to bring a taste of the West Country to its advertising

May 26, 2023

Somerset cider brand Thatchers has turned to Bristol-based multi Oscar-winning animation studio Aardman to give its advertising a distinctive West Country flavour.

The two have teamed up for a new campaign, including a TV commercial that uses Aardman’s iconic stop-motion animation technique. 

The advert takes the viewer through the gates of Thatchers’ Myrtle Farm home to show to how the family cider maker’s dedication achieves what it calls pint-sized perfection.

Elements of Myrtle Farm, such as its orchards, help tell the story of carefully crafting the perfect drop of cider.

Some familiar faces make an appearance in the commercial, including fourth generation cider maker Martin Thatcher, who makes a big entrance for the weekly tasting.

Viewers will also recognise the Thatchers hot air balloon, a familiar sight over the skies of Bristol in the summer. 

Thatchers, with its ciders such as Thatchers Gold, Haze and Blood Orange, is still making the drink at the same family farm where founder William Thatcher first grew and pressed apples almost 120 years ago.

The Pint-Sized Perfection commercial tells the story of the family’s commitment to crafting its West Country ciders, which are now sold across the UK.

The commercial follows the cider-making journey from the orchards to glass, using the unique and characterful story-telling technique that has taken Aardman from short-films and British TV advertising – including its groundbreaking Creature Comforts series – to Hollywood.

Martin Thatcher, who has had cameo appearances in all of Thatchers’ recent TV ads, said: “Partnering with Aardman, a truly iconic brand with such amazing creative genius – and situated in the West Country as we are – allows us to introduce consumers to a new, light-hearted storytelling creative about our ciders.

“It’s been a real privilege to see how Aardman shares the same total commitment to painstaking perfection every step of the way, as we do at Thatchers.”

The commercial, conceptualised by Bristol and Devon-based creative communications agency Bray Leino, was directed by Will Studd from Aardman and produced by Danny Gallagher.

Will added: “I am thrilled to be directing a new advert for Thatchers, a cider brand that shares our passion for craft and attention to detail.

“As a paid-up cider enthusiast, I am drinking in the opportunity to bring the Thatchers family, farm, dog, and selected staff members to life with detailed puppets and sets.

“Being able to collaborate with such a well-established South West brand on this project is an honour, I’m eager to create a beautiful film that captures the essence of Thatchers and their focus on perfection.”

Aardman sales & marketing manager Lydia Gough added: “Thatchers and Aardman is a pairing made in heaven. Two loved brands with a passion for their craft, both proudly independent and sharing roots in the South West. We are very excited for everyone to see the new commercial.”

A team of 40 creatives at Aardman were involved in the film, with animators alone needing more than 480 hours to shoot the 40-second commercial.

Martin Thatcher added: “This is a film that allows people to step into the world of Thatchers.

“Our passion for creating the most perfect cider is reflected in the genius of Aardman, whose animators have recreated life at Myrtle Farm in the most minute and exacting detail, from our iconic barn doors, to our hot air balloon where the basket was handwoven out of real straw. Fabric from our own workwear has even been used to create some of the costumes.”

The campaign continues to August and will include linear TV, broadcast video on demand, cinema and YouTube. It will be enhanced with 48-sheet and six-sheet posters and a consumer-focussed social media campaign.

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