Presenting The New Thomson TV Advert: Simon – A Film With A Smile

Our new ad hits TV screens today and our blog writer, El, went behind the scenes to find out what happened when the cameras weren’t rolling…

Christmas Day’s been and gone, you’re regretting that last ill-advised roast potato, and the fun’s over for another year, right? Wrong. For the beady-eyed among you, you’ll have noticed we’ve been teasing you for a couple of weeks with the promise of something coming. Something big. We’re so excited to finally share with you our new Thomson advert, gracing a TV screen near you. Ladies and gentlemen, we present ‘Simon’…

You weren’t expecting that from us, were you? Our aim was to bring to life the true power of a holiday, and thanks to our unlikely hero, Simon – not to mention everyone working tirelessly behind the camera – we think it’s fair to say it’s mission accomplished.

Back in September I couldn’t believe my luck when I was invited to the London set to watch the UK scenes of our ad being filmed. For a telly addict like me, this was like getting a golden ticket to Wonka’s chocolate factory. So, resisting the temptation to trawl the 3Mills studios for a film star sighting, or at least a soap star, I arrived on set armed with my trusty iPhone. Here’s what I captured…

It’s a section of a Thomson 787 Dreamliner, holed up in a studio in the East End. Completely normal. These Dreamliner seats came all the way from sunny LA and took 15 people a fortnight to put together.

Recognise that drawing? Drawn by the little girl in the ad, it was big Thomson smiles all round.

Thomson’s Senior Marketing Manager, Peter Emmerson (right), and Stephen Yates from our ad agency, Beattie McGuinness Bungay, testing out our comfy Dreamliner seats. Don’t blame them for the cheesy pose, that was under my direction. I have a feeling the globally-aclaimed director of our ad, Fredrick Bond, won’t need to watch his back any time soon…

A booklet listing the names of the 152 people involved in the filming of the advert (yes, 152) and a frame-by-frame guide to every scene. The timings were stuck to with military precision.

Possibly one of the best lunches I’ve ever eaten (on a bus! Just like in Extras!). Which either means the food was phenomenally good… or I need to get out more.

Our ogre friend, Simon, getting wheeled around the office set in Woolwich. Such a diva.

Hurrah. More food. I’d like to blame Simon for the disappearance of half the sandwiches. But that would be a lie. *Licks mayonnaise from fingers*

Our big star has a lie-down. Perhaps he was weak from a lack of sandwiches. Or maybe it was due to the 130°C heat (unconfirmed, but probably true) within his padded ogre suit.

Ogres. Big feet. Big smiles.

Exterior shots in Greenford, west London. The spotty green tablecloth from before makes a welcome return, displaying the lifeblood of all film sets… coffee. And plenty of it.

Greenford. Formally known for being the birthplace of supermodel, Jourdan Dunn. Now it’s the site of Simon’s House. I think that deserves a blue plaque.

Tune in tomorrow when I’ll be getting the scoop from the stars of our new ad.

About the author

El Berwick
El Berwick is an events planner turned travel blogger. Her idea of a perfect holiday would be a few days visiting her favourite spots in NYC, followed by a road trip up the New England coast staying at quaint B&Bs, and ending up on the beaches of Nantucket. Failing that, she’d be happy with a long weekend watching the world sail by in Salcombe, Devon. Connect with El on Google +

211 replies to "“Presenting The New Thomson TV Advert: Simon – A Film With A Smile”"

  1. SHEILA HAWKEN says: 31/03/2014 at 23:36

    I feel utterly sickened by this advert and by the dismissive comments made by able-bodied people who are, no doubt, blissfully unaware of the reality for many disabled people, whose appearance does not conform to the norm, because of an illness, disease or as a result of an accident. I am disabled myself. have taught and worked with disabled people and am all too well aware of the bullying and negative stereotypes which are ascribed to people who may look different. Such differences are used as an excuse for physical assaults as well as verbal abuse, so pardon me if I do not feel like joking about this.
    Anyone who still thinks that this ad is appropriate should consider the work done by the charity, “Changing Faces,” and consider making a donation to them once they understand how stupidly superficial their attitudes have been.
    This advert is discriminatory and panders to those who think it is OK to pick on disabled people because of their appearance.I know several people who have been disfigured as a result of illness,accidents, burns or congenital problems personally who are very distressed indeed by this advert.

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 01/04/2014 at 01:00

      Hi Sheila, Thanks for sharing your comments and thoughts regarding our new TV Advert. We’d just like to re-assure you that the aim of our advert was to bring to life the potential power of a holiday, and to portray a light-hearted view on a metaphor that might ring true for certain families – the idea of being busy with work and the stresses of life, and it then melting away once on holiday. There was never any intention to cause offence or disappointment.

  2. Sarah Owen says: 16/03/2014 at 01:01

    If this ad is removed from our screens because of the complaints I will complain to the ASA …. I love watching it whenever it is show!

  3. Jo says: 28/02/2014 at 13:09

    Love the Advert. This video exactly represents how my husband and I look and feel when going for vacation – totally exploited and tired, like 2 grumpy orges. The advert shows the escence of a working man in 21st centuray office. I was watching this video over and over and love the music by The Piano Guys as well. Perfect choice, relaxing, recovering, hopeful. This add should be a benchmark for todays’ marketing industry. It is very thoughtful and gives a smile. I heard there’s been 80 complaints on the subject, but people can always look for something to criticize. It is not always to point out and discriminate. Shame some people looked at it this way. Great team work guys. I’m looking forward to the next one, maybe this time on Mrs Orge  ?

  4. Toni says: 26/02/2014 at 21:18

    I love the advert but think this is mainly aimed at men, when women especially me looks like that for the whole of my holiday!!!! But I’ve never been on a Thompson holiday, so maybe that’s what I need!!!

  5. KJ says: 21/02/2014 at 18:44

    As a retired marketing and advertising professional I have say the ‘Simon the Ogre’ advert is one of the best I’ve seen, worldwide, since ‘Got Milk’ in the US and the Meerkat campaign in the UK. The music is a brilliant choice and the concept is flawless. I guess the old adage that ‘no matter what you do you will offend someone’ still holds true, as evidenced in some of the responses you have received. It is a shame that they have missed the point of the ad.

  6. Kathryn Worsley says: 20/02/2014 at 12:44

    I love this advert. I can totally relate to the message and it gives me goose bumps every time. I can’t wait for July when Thomson take me to Menorca where can find #me again :0)

  7. Peter Brown says: 16/02/2014 at 22:26

    Just had to buy the music!!

  8. Becky says: 13/02/2014 at 16:19

    I honestly don’t understand the people who complain. It’s an advert, not real life. Do you know an ogre?
    We can analyse all adverts and come up with something personal and negative. How many baby adverts are on tv? Imagine what these are like for women who’ve lost babies ? They don’t demand that they’re stopped being shown.
    The advert also shows that although Simon is an ogre and presumably not everyones idea of perfection he still has a beautiful family and does family stuff.

  9. Sarah says: 10/02/2014 at 20:17

    I think this is a wonderfull advert it’s so true to life ,
    People should have wonderfull imaginations and dreams
    This portrays the stresses of life and how u can redeem yourself ,
    5 star to thompsons , myself and partner and children love the advert
    And simon the ogre of course , and the music is fantastic well done to all
    Who was involved with the making of this advert !!! Xx

  10. fran walsh says: 02/02/2014 at 00:37

    I love this advert! It makes me smile & re-inforces how good holidays are for banishing work demons. The music is beautiful & the portrayal of Simon returning to normal with his family is a tonic. I think all employers should show this on their induction training no matter what their role within the company. Those people who are offended by this advert are sad, it’s just an advert to lift people’s mood in testing times. I have this theme tune on my mobile & laptop & listen to it everyday, it makes me feel happy, you can’t get better than that !

  11. Monique says: 01/02/2014 at 00:51

    I really like the theme tune used in the ad. What’s it called please?

    • Christina @Thomson says: 01/02/2014 at 02:37

      Hi Monique, The song’s called Beethoven’s 5 Secrets and it’s performed by the Piano Guys. I hope this helps.

  12. Chris says: 31/01/2014 at 12:30

    What a fantastic advert. I am a hard working dad of 2 and can relate to the range of emotions Simon is going through. Sometimes we’re not appreciated at work, or at home, life is trying sometimes but we need to show strength for the sake of our family. A holiday experience can let us feel ourselves again, and the ad portrays this brilliantly – I think the actor who plays the Ogre plays the role with sensitivity – top job Thomson!!

  13. Yvonne says: 30/01/2014 at 09:54

    Hi, I think your advert is fantastic, there are far more disturbing things than this on telly these days and they have an on/off button if people do not like it.
    The music complements it perfectly and shows that after the stress of working all year you can slowly get back to yourself.
    Can you purchase the music on the ad, I think it is perfect to listen to in the car.

    • Jonathan S @ Thomson says: 31/01/2014 at 03:21

      Hi Yvonne, Thanks for your positive comments. I can confirm that “Beethoven 5 secrets” performed by the Piano Guys has been licensed for use on the Thomson Holidays advert.

  14. Jane Taylor says: 29/01/2014 at 21:04

    What a truly moving advert. I am so sorry some people do not appreciate the meaning behind it. Everyone has problems including me, no job, a chronically sick daughter, and a troubled teenager, but we all love Simon and welcome such an inspiring distraction. Why do people judge something so creative and turn it into something that is all about themselves? Productions like this are a real opportunity to think outside of your own situation and appreciate magic.

    • Jonathan S @ Thomson says: 30/01/2014 at 03:27

      Hi Jane, Thanks for your positive feedback about our advert. I’ll pass this onto the relevant team. Thanks again.

  15. Roger and Elaine Penney says: 29/01/2014 at 21:01

    My wife and I think this advert is in extremely bad taste and we have made a complaint to the advertising standards agency.
    Would it not be better to show exactly what we would get by buying a holiday from Thompson,or is this to cover the bad publicity recently concerning their new aircraft fleet? It would be nice to be reassured that all the major snags have been ironed out with them before producing rubbish like this.

    • Jonathan S @ Thomson says: 30/01/2014 at 03:26

      Hi Roger and Elaine, Thanks for sharing your comments and thoughts regarding our new TV Advert. We’d just like to re-assure you that the aim of our advert was to bring to life the potential power of a holiday, and to portray a light-hearted view on a metaphor that might ring true for certain families – the idea of being busy with work and the stresses of life, and it then melting away once on holiday. There was never any intention to cause offence or disappointment.

    • Jane Taylor says: 30/01/2014 at 14:59

      Mmmmm…. You must be very unfulfilled and unhappy people. I feel sorry for you. What a nasty post.

    • Jonathan Armstrong says: 23/02/2014 at 15:01

      Think that you have completely missed the point and are completely sad at having gone to the effort of making a complaint to the ASA. You must have two much time on your hands.

  16. Stuart Watkiss says: 27/01/2014 at 22:41

    Hi there, I still don’t understand why people are complaining do they not know what a metaphor is? Come on Valerie watch the whole clip it is obvious what and who Simon represents; the hard working people who at times, due to the stresses of life forget that they need a break. Brilliant marketing Thomson. At what point does disability come into it in fact I wonder how many of those 80 complaints mentioned earlier are actually from people with a disability; probably none. It’s comments like above that stunt creativity because people have to consider those who will some how find offense where there is none. It’s a good advert Thomson, ignore the ignorant.

  17. Beth McArdle says: 27/01/2014 at 19:54

    I am heartbroken about the effect your advert Simon the Ogre has had on my Mum. My Mum is one of the most courageous, giving, loving woman you could ever be so fortunate as to meet. She also has a wicked sense of humour. In the last three years she has survived breast cancer and continues the battle against secondary bone cancer. Cruelly she developed tumours on her face that have caused terrible swelling. My Mother does not hide away and faces the world in her glamourous sunglasses and hat. What is heartbreaking and so very hard for all of us as a family is how upset the Simon the Ogre advert makes her. She would give anything to go on holiday and to get her face back. I implore you to stop showing this advert. You may have tested it but unless you love through the nightmare we do every day you cannot begin to understand just how devastating it is to see someone you love so upset.

    • Leanne @Thomson says: 28/01/2014 at 02:15

      Hi Beth, Thanks for sharing your comments and thoughts regarding our new TV Advert. I’d like to re-assure you that the aim of our advert was to bring to life the potential power of a holiday, and to portray a light-hearted view on a metaphor that might ring true for certain families – the idea of being busy with work and the stresses of life, and it then melting away once on holiday. There was never any intention to cause offence or disappointment.

  18. daniel rogers says: 26/01/2014 at 19:22

    Love the advert where was the hotel that they went to on holiday?

  19. JOHN BARTON says: 26/01/2014 at 14:15

    If you don’t like this AD you don’t like or understand life itself.
    Well done Thomson you totally captured how a lot of dads often feel.
    Am not too proud to admit your AD brought a tear to my eye.
    Have you thought of doing another one similar where the couple could be a cat and dog that constantly fight then morph into humans?

  20. Tony Kilkenny says: 25/01/2014 at 21:33

    I first saw your advert weeks ago and must say it is by far the best advert on tv! I as a hard working dad can so relate to the ogre persona and like Simon in the ad i believe me and my family would benefit from a holiday right now. It opens a window into real family life these days, and highlights the need for a family to enjoy quality time together no matter what life throws at us. Thomson i salute you and urge you not to listen to the small narrow minded minority that spend their entire days and nights looking for something to complain about. You’ve got our booking this year! T

    • Leanne @Thomson says: 26/01/2014 at 01:30

      Hi Tony, I’m glad to hear that you like the advert. Where have you got booked to make you feel me again?

  21. Aggie Worth says: 24/01/2014 at 20:34

    I really like the ad. It caught my attention from the very beginning. I also love the music in it. Do you know what it is? It’s perfectly chosen.

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 25/01/2014 at 01:32

      Hi Aggie, I’m pleased to hear that you like our new advert. The music is an orchestral cover of OneRepublic’s Secrets by The Piano Guys. If you’ve got any further questions please let me know.

  22. Helen says: 23/01/2014 at 23:10

    This is one of the best adverts I have seen in years. I can completely relate to it. I’m a solicitor who works ridiculously long hours. I feel like Simon most if the time and I know my colleagues do too. They get home from work late, too late to put the kids to bed. Try to get through the week at work when really hoping for the work life balance that you can’t ever get with this job. But we all work so hard and plan and wait for holidays with our family and its the best time ever. This advert has made me cry so many times. The music is amazing and it has such a powerful meaning. Congratulations for creating such an emotional powerful advert. Plus I have been on many holidays with Thompson and I feel the same as Simon a day or two in. I seriously want to change my job and work with the creators of these adverts!

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 24/01/2014 at 02:47

      Thanks for your lovely feedback Helen and I’m so pleased that you like our new advert. I’m also pleased to hear that you’ve enjoyed many holidays with us and I hope that you go on to enjoy many more.

  23. Claire Quail says: 23/01/2014 at 22:57

    Hi guys, I just have to say WELL DONE!
    I think the key to a great ad is to capture the attention of the audience. This was finely done with the music and character used. It takes great minds to come up with such ideas and a lot of thought. I thought it was great! :)

    What is the violin piece played in the background?

    Looking forward to my wedding in Portugal come July!!! :)

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 24/01/2014 at 02:44

      Hi Claire, I’m pleased to hear that you like our new advert. The music is an orchestral cover of OneRepublic’s Secrets by The Piano Guys. I’d like to wish you congratulations on your wedding and I hope that you have a lovely time.

  24. John Crawley says: 23/01/2014 at 21:41

    I love this advert very clever and very well done… Shame about the negative comments as not deserved at all.. Also great music choice, the tune reminds me of another one just can’t put my finger on it. Please could you let me know what it is…

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 24/01/2014 at 02:38

      Hi John, I’m pleased to hear that you like our advert. The music is an orchestral cover of OneRepublic’s Secrets by The Piano Guys. If you’ve got any further questions please let me know.

  25. Andy says: 23/01/2014 at 19:15

    I love the Thompson holiday advert. I have to say whoever came up with this
    Idea has earned every penny of there fee. Its so true about the stress and strains
    Of life, especially in recent years with the recession, job losses etc, and how Iimportant time away with your family actually is. I see no offence in the advert whatsoever but respect some people do and may need that
    Reassurance that its not meant to offend anyone.
    Well done Thomson, I will remember ‘ Simon the Ogre’ next time a need a
    Well deserved holiday.

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 24/01/2014 at 02:23

      Hi Andy, I’m pleased to hear that you like our new advert and thanks for your feedback

  26. Fibee says: 22/01/2014 at 20:47

    I absolutely love this ad! – makes me smile & cry- it really is powerful as we all know that feeling, holiday’s are so important to bring you back to yourself :)

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 23/01/2014 at 01:51

      Hi Fibee, I’m pleased to hear that you like our Thomson advert and thanks for your lovely feedback.

  27. Andy says: 21/01/2014 at 23:27

    I have to say i really do not like this advert, it is verging on a horror film at times when the body parts fall off, it is just disturbing,would not make me want to book with Thomson at all.

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 23/01/2014 at 07:27

      Hi Andy, It’s a shame to you feel this way. I’ll pass your feedback onto the relevant team.

    • Shrek says: 25/01/2014 at 22:43

      Andy, it’s ok! Just make sure you hide behind the cushion next time the advert comes on. ;)

    • JAN says: 27/01/2014 at 19:47

      I agree entirely with ANDY !! TAKE IT OFF !!!

    • Jonathan Armstrong says: 23/02/2014 at 15:03

      Horror film??!! Seriously???

  28. P. Linsdale says: 21/01/2014 at 11:31

    I’m afraid I found your adverts disturbing, too. The “Uncanny Valley” aspect really made my skin crawl. Unfortunately, your creative team did their job a bit too well.

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 23/01/2014 at 07:25

      Hi Paula, Thanks for sharing your comments and thoughts regarding our new TV Advert. We’d just like to re-assure you that the aim of our advert was to bring to life the potential power of a holiday, and to portray a light-hearted view on a metaphor that might ring true for certain families – the idea of being busy with work and the stresses of life, and it then melting away once on holiday. There was never any intention to cause offence or disappointment.

  29. Ian drage says: 21/01/2014 at 07:24

    This is a great ad, with a great track. Forget the people who complain, they just don’t get out much.
    Just wish my wife would stop telling me I’m simon. Lol.
    I’m guessing you have completed your goal

  30. Mrs A Rummey says: 20/01/2014 at 22:30

    I think ‘Simon the Ogre’ is really clever! I am sorry that you have had 80 complaints – some people just ‘didn’t get it’ I’m afraid – no more offensive than Shrek! It was clear that he was an ogre – NOT a disabled or disfigured person. What a shame!

  31. vicki says: 20/01/2014 at 19:32

    We think it’s one of the best adverts we’ve seen in a long time. We only went on here to find out what the brilliant music was.
    I find it sad that people have to find something negative in an advert which is obviously intended to portray how stressed/ogre tempered we can all get working with everyday life and that a bit of relaxation can help distress.
    Not a thought of disability entered our minds until reading it on here and quite frankly the world has gone mad with what you are allowed to say, or not say, these days.
    Lighten up!

    • Adam @Thomson says: 21/01/2014 at 04:25

      Thank you for the great feedback Vicki, Do you know anyone who can relate to Simons story? By the way, the music is by The Piano Guys.

      • vicki says: 21/01/2014 at 09:50

        My daddy passed away of cancer just over a year ago and it was very quick and traumatic; in the middle when it looked like he might be responding to treatment all he could think about was us all going away om holiday with his 3 girls when he was feeling up to it, unfortunately that never happened.
        Life can be cruel and what i and probably others have experienced is true sadness and what people think of this advert should pale in comparison to what REAL dramas people have to deal with in the grand scheme of things.

  32. Mrs A Emsley says: 20/01/2014 at 09:58

    As an adult, I totally understand what this advert is all about. However, my seven year old daughter is horrified that these ogres go on holiday in case we bump into one or find body parts which have dropped off. I’m not sure the childs perspective has been considered at all. We have to turn over when the ad comes on.

    • Jonathan Armstrong says: 23/02/2014 at 15:05

      That’s why it is the responsibility of the parent to explain situations like this. There are many thing on TV which could make a little child think that things are real, but we manage these don’t we??

  33. Simon Thompson says: 19/01/2014 at 22:43

    The first time I watched this advert I welled up with emotion and the music touched me so much. A true masterpiece. Well done to the creative team who produced this thought provoking advert. I like many other fathers watched this and realised my 5 year old daughter may think I am an Orge sometimes! We all need a holiday…and this production reminds us why.

    And yes my name really is Simon Thompson….

    • Adam @Thomson says: 20/01/2014 at 06:37

      That’s brilliant Simon, thank you for your great feedback.

  34. Valerie Morgan says: 19/01/2014 at 21:23

    I find this advert very disturbing. It suggests anyone with a physical disability or a disfigurement can be cured by going on a Thomson holiday.

    • Adam @Thomson says: 20/01/2014 at 06:36

      Hi Valerie, Thanks for sharing your comments and thoughts regarding our new TV Advert. We’d just like to re-assure you that the aim of our advert was to bring to life the potential power of a holiday, and to portray a light-hearted view on a metaphor that might ring true for certain families – the idea of being busy with work and the stresses of life, and it then melting away once on holiday. There was never any intention to cause offence or disappointment.

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