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Behind the scenes: our 2017 TV ads

Take a behind the scenes peek at what was involved in creating our new 2017 TV ads. From the concept to the cast, we’ve got the down-low information covered.


Working with our creative agency, Butlin’s set about creating 3 brand new TV ads that would bring to life real family moments. With a stronger, more developed emotional aspect running through the centre of the ads, we wanted to really focus on those small but special moments that happen throughout family life, and the excitement during the lead up to a break away.

We built this concept into 3 core Butlin’s products that would take to television nationwide; Diversity at Butlin’s, our modern accommodation and our Just For Tots breaks designed exclusively for families with children under 5s. With the concept decided, it was time to film.

“What I love about the scripts that come out of This Is Now is that they really ring true-to-life because they’re focused on the sorts of intimate and treasured moments that family life is full of.”  

– Ornette Spenceley, Director at The Sweet Shop

Behind the scenes: Butlins 2017 TV ads

So, let’s set the scene. Early December, Dulwich, south London, inside a beautiful family home.

On a tight deadline to film all 3 adverts in one day, as you can rightly imagine, there was a lot going on! The shoot required one camera and a total of 60 people including the crew, the client (being us!) and the creative and production agencies. So yes, it was a rather full house.

Starting with Just For Tots, filming the ad included a Mum, a Dad, a 5 year old boy and a lot of giggles and singing, plus a fair few re-takes too! The director’s experience was essential in capturing these natural family moments on film. See it for yourself:


Next up was our accommodation advert featuring our lovely seaside hotels and apartments, and our lakeside chalets in Minehead. Kitted out in their PJs for ultimate comfort and to show the excitement and anticipation of the run up to a break away, the cast involved a Mum, a Dad and an eager 8 year old son.

Compared to our Tots ad, this one involved filming in more rooms in the house which meant more manoeuvring, (breathe in everyone!) including the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Take a look:


And last but not least was our Diversity advert, kicking off at around 6pm and wrapping up at 8:30pm. The sisters seen dancing in their living room were so relatable and true (I mean who hasn’t danced around in their living room before?) and gave the advert a truly ‘special moment’ feel, especially from proud Dad. Here it is:


Throughout the day we captured a full 5 hours’ worth of footage, all the while guzzling around 200 cups of tea, wow! Afterwards we spoke to Ornette Spenceley, Director at production agency The Sweet Shop, who said:

“The cheeky, family charm we were after on the Butlin’s shoot was easily captured through a familiar cast and spontaneous character performances. As a filmmaker, this is the type of cinematic content you hope for – fun to watch, beautifully observed and full of authenticity. The Butlin’s team and the folk at This Is Now were agile and truly collaborative, especially when a new idea presented itself along the way”.

Behind the scenes: Butlins 2017 TV ads

Our 2017 TV ads landed on screens on Boxing Day and continue to air. We hope you’ve already seen and enjoyed them! For more information and to see the adverts again, head to our website.

Clare McAuley