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. The curious Mr Frederik says: 07/01/2014 at 15:59

    Anyone who is suggesting that this advert is discriminating against any group of people are being entirely hypocritical. You are actualy suggesting that an ogre is disfigured, which is incorrect, all ogres are born this way and should be appreciated for their own beauty, like you would a unicorn. So by suggesting this advert is discriminating against the disfigured, you are actually discriminating against ogres, as they are not disfigured but miracles of their own right. Even if they are grumpy 50 weeks a year. Shame on you narrow minded people. Looool.

    FYI, the advert is brilliant, and representative of my dad during my youth, a quiet grumpy man who had to bring home the bacon for his family in a job he didnt love. His hard earned holiday once a year completely transformed him and we would joke and laugh like best friends. Very insightful advertising Thompson.

  2. Gillian Thompson says: 07/01/2014 at 15:12

    Just a note to congratulate you on a brilliant advert, the best I have seen in ages, I am sure many women, myself included will recognise the man you take on holiday as being Simon the Ogre only to return from a relaxing holiday with a much more hansome chilled out man. Thomson holidays are always spot on and I look forward to another one this year.
    Well done!

  3. Mark Winters says: 07/01/2014 at 14:26

    I am that monster and I guess I know it, which is why I could relate and others are offended or want to deny people suffer stress from working too hard.

    It’s a great ad and one that makes me want to go back to a sensatory hotel (it is very nice and a welcome change from the constant Disney tours I have to do with my 5 kids!!).

    This was a great ad. Thanks all and well done.
    Mark

  4. Julia Wright says: 07/01/2014 at 14:03

    A truly horrible ad. You appear to be mocking disabled and mentally challenged people. You should be ashamed of yourselves as should your supporters. Very nasty ad indeed.

    • Stefan @Thomson says: 07/01/2014 at 15:00

      Thanks for sharing your comments and thoughts regarding our new TV Advert Julia. 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.

  5. alan says: 07/01/2014 at 01:47

    This advert, by sorting the likers from the haters, can only be to the good if it means the latter group will no longer be booking Thompson holidays. We’ve all seen them; complaining on the flight, whinging on the transfer and being rude and opinionated to hotel and Thompson staff. Alienating a few curmudgeons will be no loss to the company and provide a better holiday experience for the rest of us. So all in all a major coup by Thompson for producing an advert that will attract its target demographic – those who ‘get it’ – and deter those choosing to see offence wherever they look. That truly is good marketing.

  6. Anita gohil says: 06/01/2014 at 23:24

    Such an awful advert. So digusting puts you off even booking with Thompson and definately an off put for the kids. It’s a longer advert than normal as well so the time goes slower with a rubbish advert

  7. Ian says: 06/01/2014 at 22:09

    Fantastic advert. My wife just text me and said that i am just like the man in the Thomson advert. I am working away (as usual) and so I have just google searched for it. I see exactly what my wife means (however my nose is not quite that big….) Holidays do bring families much closer together and they can rejuvenate people. I normally start my holidays feeling knackered and run down but after a few days I feel a hundred percent better. And I have also got a reputation for diving into the sea. This advert has got to make everyone who has a hectic lifestyle smile ….my wife has now started looking at holidays.

    • Lauren @Thomson says: 08/01/2014 at 12:17

      Hi Ian, Thanks for sharing your positive comments on this. You’ll have to let us know where you’ll be heading off to next.

  8. Diane varney says: 06/01/2014 at 21:53

    Absolutely awful advert!…..definitely wouldn’t encourage me to book a holiday!!

  9. paul says: 06/01/2014 at 21:49

    Could you please advise the name of the music and the name of the celloists.

    • Sammi @Thomson says: 09/01/2014 at 03:50

      Hi Paul, I’m sorry for the delay in responding to you. I can confirm that “Beethoven 5 secrets” performed by the Piano Guys has been licensed for use on the Thomsons Holidays advert.

  10. Saqib Khan says: 06/01/2014 at 20:42

    Never commented on an ad before but this one moved me. Nothing short of brilliant, captures what a holiday does for you and especially with leaving one’s grind and cares behind. Truly one of the best ads I’ve seen in a long, long, time. I actually rewound it on sky+ and watched it again.

  11. David says: 06/01/2014 at 19:14

    Its just awful I cant stand it and have to turn it off as soon as it comes on TV.

    • Sarah Owen says: 10/01/2014 at 18:48

      Sounds like YOU need a holiday David!

  12. Sarah Owen says: 06/01/2014 at 19:11

    Also, very cleverly made and like someone else, it tugged at the old heart strings. Definitely going to check out that particular holiday.

  13. Sarah Owen says: 06/01/2014 at 19:07

    I have to say I totally LOVE this advert …. actually at first I thought it was a trailer for a film, lol … but either way I found it quite moving. Well done Thomson!

  14. Lo says: 06/01/2014 at 19:04

    I love the ad! It’s beautiful. Although I think it needs a tag line similar to “helping you to feel human again.”

    I actually wanted to write to ask what is the music from the advert? I cannot get enough of it! Xx

    • Sammi @Thomson says: 08/01/2014 at 07:12

      Hi Lo, Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback with us. The music is orchestral cover of OneRepublic’s Secrets by The Piano Guys.

  15. Jacqui says: 06/01/2014 at 18:03

    I loved this advert and even had a tear at the end. Can’t afford a holiday this year but the resort in Greece looked fabulous. Well done Thompson’s; thought provoking and poignant.

  16. Alison Louise Goldsmith says: 06/01/2014 at 17:40

    This advert is pure genius. I love it! I think so many people can relate it! Well done. X

  17. Vicky Murphy says: 06/01/2014 at 17:18

    What is the music called? Who by? My fella loves it. Thanks.

    • Sammi @Thomson says: 08/01/2014 at 07:09

      Hi Vicky, The music is orchestral cover of OneRepublic’s Secrets by The Piano Guys.

  18. katef says: 06/01/2014 at 15:21

    I think this is great advertising on Thomson’s part and people who are offended need to relax and stop taking things too seriously! You have clearly not understood the metaphor and the concept of this advert. Most people I have spoken to can relate to this in some way or another. At least Thomson are thinking outside of the box in comparison to Thomas Cook’s tacky adverts.

  19. Princessbad says: 06/01/2014 at 09:00

    I’ve made two attempts at posting a comment re your advert and very upset to see it’s still not up there , mine was a very very positive comment towards your advert but also a word to the wise re the negative comments from others and I feel it was a worthy posting to be shared and am very disappointed to see it’s not been posted.

    • Sammi @Thomson says: 08/01/2014 at 07:41

      Hi, I’m sorry to hear this. I’ve checked our comments and can’t see any other posts from you that are waiting to be authorised. Feel free to post them again.

  20. Wizdom says: 06/01/2014 at 01:03

    What is the name of the hotel resort used in the Advert and where is it?

    • James @Thomson says: 06/01/2014 at 06:21

      Hi Wizdom, It’s filmed at our lovely Sensatori Crete in Greece. We hope to see you out there soon.

  21. working mum says: 05/01/2014 at 19:22

    I am appalled at the new ad and feel that Thomson is out of touch with reality in the modern world. Your ad implies that only males are stressed, work and in need of a holiday. The reality is that most families require both parents to work full time to ensure bills are paid and holidays funded!
    As a full time working mum I find the ad insulting to all women. It would have been much fairer if the whole family were shown as ogres needing to get away from it all. Dreadful ad, far too long and old fashioned with its ‘dated family life representation’.

  22. Sandra williams says: 05/01/2014 at 16:31

    What a waste of money truly worst holiday advert can’t bear to watch it my grandkids said I’m not going on holiday there think cut your losses and bin the advert and I’m a loyal customer thank god for first choice redeeming the holiday mood

  23. Lynne says: 04/01/2014 at 22:25

    I have seldom witnessed such a distasteful ad. A huge disappointment that Thomsons should choose something as disturbing to sell their holidays. Very bad taste.

  24. Frazer says: 04/01/2014 at 22:22

    So you are saying that modern work practices we accept and recognize makes men into Ogres? I guess you think this reflects the reality of your customers lives and you wish to respond to this in helping us by selling us holidays. Thanks for your warm feeling to us oppressed working folk
    Look- Ogres are many things in mythology always unpleasant including a tendency to be involved in human cannibalism, maybe you were only referencing Shrek without incurring the wrath of Disney. In your ‘creative thinking’ it seems women are not affected by the oppression of work or maybe working women did not arise at your ‘creative meetings”-so no ogress here
    Living in fear of ‘Dads’ work/life related stressed moods with all its potentiality (and tolerance here) of domestic violence is a sub text you should have considered as responsible grown up adults.
    As someone else wrote -thanks to Thompson the holiday creates a human just in time to go back to work ready to start all over again. I think his wife and kids need a human father and partner 52 weeks This is a sad, desperately depressing and unpleasant advert on so many levels please consider withdrawal and re think.
    If your “Creative team” are all over 12 years old (which I have doubts about) I say to you this is not a family friendly ad and in our family here (yes of Thompson holiday goers!) we feels it creates sadness, fear and drags humans further down the evolutionary ladder and that view comes strongly from 12 year olds and up.
    Don’t pat each other on the back on this one-Cancel the ads. I will take my complaint to the ASA.

  25. Linda says: 04/01/2014 at 22:11

    Dreadful advertisement. Disturbing and unnecessary way to promote holidays. Very disappointed in Thomsons.

  26. Peter Sinclair says: 04/01/2014 at 18:34

    Why do you only post a reply to comments in favour of the advert

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 05/01/2014 at 15:17

      Hi Peter, We approve both negative a positive comments and you’ll see that I’ve approved your previous post.

  27. Peter Sinclair says: 04/01/2014 at 18:31

    I am a very good Thomson customer but I have to say I think this advert is terrible. It certainly would not persuade me to go on a Thomson Holiday, quite the contrary.
    Probably the worst holiday advert I have ever seen.
    I have two Thomson holidays pending worth over £19.000 and I hope I don’t meet any ogre like fellow travellers turn beautiful.
    I get what you are trying to do but it doesn’t work

  28. Peter G says: 04/01/2014 at 17:18

    Brilliant – better than the dull usual shallow, contrived holiday adverts with model families ” enjoying” themselves – more please.

  29. The Truth says: 04/01/2014 at 11:26

    There is clearly little thought put into this advert. The ‘message’ of becoming ‘yourself again’ is presented in a very poor way.

    An off-putting advert.

  30. Jonathan Willoughby says: 04/01/2014 at 10:57

    Dreadful advert. Jaw-dropping bad waste and completely sexist. Can I ask: would this advert ever have been made with the mum depicted as an ogre?

  31. Matt cox says: 04/01/2014 at 00:01

    Fantastic advert! Love it, so unique. Can’t believe some of the complaints on here, people read far too much into it and take it so seriously….

  32. Carol says: 03/01/2014 at 22:57

    This advert has made me really angry. Why is it that the father has been made to be an ogre and suddenly when on holiday he turns into a nice dad? Why couldn’t it have been the mother? We’re supposed to be teaching children (and perhaps adults after seeing this awful advert) that men and women are equal. Why are men portrayed to be ogres? I know many fathers who try their best to be the main bread winner and keep things going. They shouldn’t be portrayed as ogres. Thomson holidays you should be ashamed.

    • Sammi @Thomson says: 08/01/2014 at 07:31

      Hi Carol, Thanks for your post. 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. Please be assured, there was never any intention to cause offence or disappointment.

  33. Kris says: 03/01/2014 at 20:45

    I can TOTALY relate to this ad, well done guys, I feel just like the ogre in the ad after weeks, months and years of slogging at work, maybe a little grumpy and not myself, always thinking about the job wishing to God I had more time to spend with my family. A Holliday is always great to rejuvenate and get to be your real self with the people you love. I think this point was made extremely well. I want to go on Holliday now! :)

    • Elaine @Thomson says: 05/01/2014 at 13:53

      Thanks for the lovely feedback Kris and I hope that you manage to book your next holiday soon.

  34. Alberto Aguilar says: 03/01/2014 at 10:01

    I don’t really understand the anger of people. It is clear to me that the advert does not show men as nasty monsters. It is just a metaphor of how many people feel with the routine and stress they have to deal with.

    I love your add. The idea and the way it has been shot as well as the interpretation of the main actor is just awesome. Not to mention the music that perfectly matches the story.

    And anyway, it did not leave indifferent to anybody and I suppose that is the aim of marketing.

    Well done Thomson!

  35. SB44 says: 03/01/2014 at 08:03

    I just saw this advert for the first time.

    Why did it make me cry?

    Sometimes you watch an ad that pulls at your heartstrings and you don’t quite know why, this was one of those for me.

    Face it folks, some people are different and don’t quite fit in, that is unless we open up and let them in, all some people want is a smile and friendly greeting. Give it a try to someone who is different, make their day.

    • daniel says: 06/01/2014 at 23:45

      this advert really does leave a nice warn feeling inside. great work!
      ps would love to know what the piece of music you used was.

      • Sammi @Thomson says: 08/01/2014 at 07:00

        Thanks for your feedback, Daniel. The music used is an orchestral cover of OneRepublic’s Secrets by The Piano Guys.

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