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Meet The Stars Of The New Thomson TV Advert

El Berwick goes behind the scenes to get up close and personal with the characters from our new ad…

We launched our bold new TV ad yesterday and it’s already got everyone talking. Our story centres around Simon, a man so ground down by the stresses of everyday life that he feels like he’s become an ogre. But as we reach the climax of the film we see our hero transform into the best version of himself. Well, it is amazing what a Thomson holiday can do.

Yesterday on the blog I gave you the inside scoop on what went on behind the scenes at the London set of our ad – I may have mentioned the amazing catering once or twice – and today I’m going to focus on the most important element of our 2-minute masterpiece: the characters.

I’ll start with the extras. Because, well, what’s a film without extras?

Check them out… blending in, just like extras do. Sterling work, gentlemen. When Michael, Edward and Clive aren’t playing the role of office workers ignoring the fact that one of their colleagues is an actual ogre, they can be found strutting their extra stuff in TV shows and films. An example? Simon Pegg’s latest movie, ‘The World’s End’. Impressive.

Meet Cara.

Cara and I had a chat as we tucked into our delicious lunch of Pad Thai on the catering bus. Even though she’s only 8-years-old, she’s an old hand at adverts, having starred in a few already. She’s travelled to Barcelona for an acting role in the past, and was just about to jet off to the Sensatori Resort in Crete for the holiday part of our ad. Well, it beats double maths.

Next up is Tilly. As you can see, she took her role as Cara’s ‘mum’ very seriously – there was a lovely bond between the two of them.

I felt like Tilly’s face was familiar, which isn’t surprising since she’s featured in a number of high-profile adverts, including one for a well-known dating website. Not to mention her role as Amy in the TV series ‘The Cut’. Most recently, she’s produced and starred in a feature film called ‘Barking at Trees’. Clearly a very talented lady.

Finally I chatted to James. AKA Simon the ogre.

And thankfully I was in the right place at the right time to get the money shot… the face-off. James told me in his soft Scottish accent that it took a staggering 1.5 hours to get into the costume and all he could smell was sulphur. Mmm, nice. He describes the experience of being in the prosthetic suit as akin to being underwater, not being able to hear or talk very well. They say not to work with animals, but I’m guessing James has now added ogres to that list…

The business consultant-turned-actor was looking forward to heading to Crete and filming the final scene as himself. And what a fine job of it he did.

Check back in tomorrow to see exclusive videos showing behind-the-scenes clips and a look at how we brought the ogre to life.

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53 Responses to “Meet The Stars Of The New Thomson TV Advert”

  1. colleenroseberry@hotmail.co.uk' Colleen Roseberry

    How anyone can be offended by this advert is beyond me .
    It so typical of the average hard working man , and reminds me of my husband so much , by the fact that he too is consumed by his work and only comes back to his real self on a holiday break of some sort .i love it .

  2. wheelemin@hotmail.com' Richard

    Am I alone in thinking this is a really depressing advert. Here’s a guy who is an ogre, clearly unbearable in everyday life. It takes him several days on holiday to slowly return to a normal human being and finally being able to fully engage with his family. The basic subtext therefore is that he’s almost impossible to live with for 50 weeks a year. Cheery stuff.

    • janineandgeoff@tiscali.co.uk' Manglerman

      another case of over thinking, its just a bit of fun….

  3. mrtotsy@btinternet.com' Mark Taylor

    Sorry for the typo below – that was meant to read ‘well done Thomson’

  4. mrtotsy@btinternet.com' Mark Taylor

    I absolutely loved the ad – I actually shed a tear or two but we’ll just keep that to ourselves (!) I often feel like Simon, weighed down with the worries of work etc. and it was beautiful to watch him reconnect with his wife and daughter – very touching.
    I have read that some have made complaints about the ad on the grounds that it offends disabled people – all I would like to say is that point of view never even crossed my mind when I watched it for the first time; the advert in my opinion was a lovely heart-warming piece of work – well done Thompson

  5. caseyshaynemacd@gmail.com' Casey

    I believe that everybody is entitled to their own opinion. But that also means I can share mine…
    I think it is unfair that people are judging this ingenious advert to be some kind of mockery. It is clearly some sort of personification of the inside of someone who isn’t as happy as they should, someone who is beginning to show it through the way they act. It is meaning that their holidays may enlighten those who feel this way. This advert should be praised, not hated! The fact that the first thing that comes to people’s minds is that this is a mockery makes me ashamed. It certainly wasn’t the impression I got.
    A lot of time and effort was put into the making of this wonderful, enlightening advertisement and I think it should be recognised. It is something without humour, but good intentions. If that isn’t clear enough, I don’t know what needs to be done to convince you.

    Completely and utterly a fan of this advert, my praise for this, Thomson.

  6. janet.allen@bcu.ac.uk' Jan

    I agree with all those who love the Simon The Ogre advert, I find it very moving especially with the music. I am not disabled nor (particularly) disfigured but even so, I think some people just look for something to take offence at. Even while Simon is still an ogre, his family still clearly love him, so what’s the problem? The lovely bit where he and his wife are holding hands while having a massage is so poignant; I’m not ashamed to say that this ad moves me almost to tears. Well done Thomsons, if I could afford any holiday in the first place, this would persuade me to book with you.

    • Jonathan S @ Thomson

      Thanks for your feedback, Cally. I’m pleased to hear you like it.

  7. Flagg020@aol.com' Rob Tomlin

    The music and the subject matter remind me of the advert for the Dead Island video game, though that was a family on holiday during a zombie outbreak. Check it out on YouTube. The music is even more poignant, and they had the genius idea of running the whole thing backwards in slow motion.

  8. Stephen_dorsett@yahoo.co.uk' Steve

    Best advert in years for any holiday indeed any product. This advert simply should win awards, I totally get the metaphor and am inspired to take a holiday this year. Congratulations to all those involved with the advertisement and thank you.
    Regards, Steve 🙂

    • Elaine.lea@thomson.co.uk' Elaine @Thomson

      Thanks for you lovely feedback Steve and I’m pleased to hear that you like our advert.

  9. Matt@regent-street.com' M477HEW

    It’s possible that this is the best advert for years. Some people ought to get a hobby, better still get a job and endure the stresses of the real working life. Just a thought… Well done Thomson your marketing budget is well spent!

  10. hecheath1@gmail.com' Mike Heath

    I came here to find the names of the actors. Annoyingly you give only first names. This is almost as annoying as the 1 HOUR WAIT in the airport queue to get to the Thomsons check in desk the one and only time I did Thomson. Never again.

  11. graham.beck@homecall.co.uk' Graham Beck

    A great ad. Trust the ”I’m offended brigade” to come out, It’s a fantasy advert and I don’t connect it in any way with disabled people, it never crossed my mind. What I could find offensive if I wanted to, is are these people suggesting only ‘normal’ people should go on holiday. It can be twisted any way you want. Live with it, it’s just a gentle giant on holiday with his family, it’s TV, not reality.

  12. Leonards39@yahoo.co.uk' Simon leonard

    Hi I would like to say that I love this advert! I visited this sensortori resort in Crete back in 2011 after going through a very tough time due to sever illness . Much to say being in a coma and my kids almost losing the dad the financial strain put on my wife to make ends meet my parents paid for a weeks break for us here. It reminds me of a very rewarding time that we all needed to relax and unwind and most of all help me on the road to recovery . I have sustained some very visual scarring to my neck and for those who say they are discussed by the advert as they think its aimed at people with disformaties makes me sad . This place is a place to relax and enjoy life and yes my name is Simon .

    • janineandgeoff@tiscali.co.uk' Manglerman

      moving comment Simon, thanks…all the best…

  13. janineandgeoff@tiscali.co.uk' Manglerman

    Great ad, great music. Reading some of the more negative comments only goes to show how diverse and unpredictable peoples reactions can be…..IMO Thomson have come up with a winner…well done.

  14. Debora.frayne@sky.com' Debbie

    Great Ad, love it! Well done for creating an ad that’s an endearing and humorous mini movie. The music is the cherry on the top, just beautiful.

  15. Michelleprince61@gmail.com' Michelle

    I absolutely adore watching this Ad as does my son. Call me sad or whatever but I have actually pressed ‘rewind’ to watch it over. For me it strikes a chord, I am over worked and stressed like a lot of people and need a holiday to strip away all the layers that months of hard work has caused. To laugh, let go and to be carefree albeit for a couple of weeks is just what I need. I am sorry that some find it offensive but I find The Ad beautiful and endearing!

    • Debora.frayne@sky.com' Debbie

      Me too, I love it! I can’t believe that some people find it offensive. I think they’re reading too much into it and being over sensitive perhaps, that’s their free choice. If anyone asks me in a few years time what’s your favourite Ad, I’ll say the Ogre one. In Sainsburys they’re giving away their Xmas Ads on DVD. And when I saw it, I said to the store assistant ‘Ah, has that got the Ogre one on there’, and then I realised that it was for Thomson holidays. So I told him that I like the Ogre Ad best.

    • beckinsale53@googlemail.com' Forrest

      Considering how annoying adverts are these days it’s really quite refreshing to see one as good and as uplifting as this. I too watch this ad over and over it’s like a mini feel good movie. And no it’s not sad to watch it again and again. I think some people out there wouldn’t like to admit that they too enjoy watching this ad over and over, I admit it! Anyway what a great advert it is and for anyone who wants to know what the music is, it’s called Beethoven’s 5 secrets. Well done Thompson!

  16. Kathleen_e@hotmail.com' Kathleen

    Best advert I have ever seen! Stops me dead in my tracks everytime!! Love it!! It’s amazing what a good holiday can do! Those moaning or complaining about it, get a grip

  17. fdorgan@gmail.com' Finbarr

    Have you considered the negative effect your advert has on people with physical attributes which do not conform to popular societies concept of ‘normal’?
    The portrayal of an ‘ogre’ magically transforming into a ‘normal’ person after treating himself to one of your holidays, is detrimental to anyone who through no choice of their own, may not conform to what society deems to be normal. I urge you to cease running this advert, as I and many others find it highly offensive. Please do not reply to this comment with the same statement about how you intended the advert to be ‘lighthearted’ or how ‘there was never any intention to cause offence’. Please consider how adverts such as this merely perpetuate the negative stereotypes associated with physical disability.

    • shuglington@yahoo.co.uk' Hugo

      I agree. As a goblin I found this to be highly offensive.

    • hatchingchick@gmail.com' chris

      I am disabled and go on holidays and sometimes get nasty looks or comments but this add is just showing you can feel better when on holiday and I feel it has no negative or positive effect on me or how people perceive me so all you do gooders get of their backs and mine they dont deserve it and I don’t want your input on my behalf.

    • Amanda @Thomson

      Hi Chris, I’m sorry to hear that you feel this way about our new TV Advert. I can assure you that the advert was not intended to cause any offence to anyone. I will make sure your comments will be passed on. If I can help you with anything else please let me know.

  18. Heatherkcarter@googlemail.com' Heather Carter

    Can you please tell me where this holiday location is? It looks beautiful.

    • Samantha.thorley@thomson.co.uk' Sammi @Thomson

      Hi Heather, Our new advert was filmed at our Sensatori resort in Crete. Take a look here – bitly.com/ON5zhw.

  19. ginagordon@ntlworld.com' avril gordon

    I find this as highly offensive. I couldn’t believe the portrayal of a person with a bent spine and a hump – just like me. When I get in the sea, I come out with the same deformity. I don’t turn into a beauty. Just about the most crass ad ever.

    • Samantha.thorley@thomson.co.uk' Sammi @Thomson

      Hi Avril, Thanks for sharing your 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.

  20. Ejbrooke@hotmail.co.uk' Liz

    My daughter says “mummy, why is Daddy on TV?” Makes me laugh every time.

  21. missclaireaustin@hotmail.com' Claire

    I know it’s only January but if this isn’t a contender for advert of the year then I’ll be amazed. It is so incredibly moving and the ogre is just wonderful. So underplayed. It still moves me now I know that the ogre will turn into Chris Deburgh

  22. loolie3000@hotmail.com' Mrs L

    One of the most ridiculous ad’s I’ve ever seen. I DO change channel or mute the sound!

    • dnsnapper@blueyonder.co.uk' dave

      But you still find time to complain about it, and browse the Thompson’s website how odd

  23. chrisclarke48@googlemail.com' Christine Clarke

    I think the advert with the man like an ogre is disgusting, it is very offensive to those people who have deformaties, if that is supposed to make us buy a holiday, sorry but it won`t work for me. It is disgusting.

    • Daniel.Doubleday@thomson.co.uk' Dan @Thomson

      Hi Christine, Please be assured that the aim of the advert is to bring to life the power of a potential holiday and 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.

    • Furry2@btinternet.com' miss jaz

      Hi everyone, I love this advert and as a young disabled person I just wish people would get off Thomsons back it is a bit of fun and not aimed at taking the mickey out of us all,please do more ogre ads.

  24. karen.mpage@hotmail.co.uk' Karen Page

    Not sure if I have the right forum here. I have never commented on an advert before but have to say that I really dislike the Ogre Ad – I actually find it quite disturbing. Perhaps if the ‘ogre’ were less life like and more comical it would not be so.

    • chris5762@googlemail.com' Christopher Gilbert

      Less life like? How many people do you know with horns?

  25. nickharman1@btinternet.com' nick

    The punchline of this ad was apparent less than ten seconds in. Not a particularly original idea, but fair enough. The full length version however is irritatingly long, the ad simply marks time for most of its run, and the attempt at John Lewis heartstrings is ill-judged. Some humour would have been more effective. Clearly a lot of money was spent on production values on this average idea but what it wanted was a better, tighter script

    • dnsnapper@blueyonder.co.uk' dave

      What you wanted eh!! What were you the Producer ?

  26. lisamariewebber@hotmail.com' Lisa kearl

    It’s the soundtrack I love. I want to know who it’s done by

    • Samantha.thorley@thomson.co.uk' Sammi @Thomson

      Hi Lisa, The music on the advert is an orchestral cover of OneRepublic’s Secrets by The Piano Guys.

  27. Kate.m852@btinternet.com' Kate Maddison

    Thank you Thomson for this great tv ad it certainly makes me want to book a holiday
    Makes you stop what your doing and watch it, brings it home what all stressful lives we have and that a holiday can bring you back to yourself, what I can’t understand is all the negitive comments are people crazy or just after a free holiday by complaining, it just proves they are really some ogres out there get yourself on holiday and chill out

  28. gordon@dodge.org.uk' Gordon McMillan

    I’m hoping the Piano Guys are going to proper mention for the sound track ?

  29. project666.sr@googlemail.com' Simon Richardson

    As you can see my name is simon, i am not happy, due to medical reasons. i am just waiting for the teasing to start. Why was the name simon used? This will destroy yrs of therapy!

    • mikehaywood30@gmail.com' Mike the Ogre

      As you can see I am a real life ogre. I am not happy due to, well, being an ogre. I’m just waiting for the teasing to start. I’m now going to be called Simon which will destroy all my years of therapy!

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