Watch: The liberating experience of making the British Gas lockdown ad

Director Simon Ratigan and ECD Micky Tudor discuss how they made "Helping every way that we can"

British Gas released their lockdown ad "Helping every way that we can" back in May. It's an energetic snapshot of the work of engineers and customer support teams in response to Covid-19.

It was praised for proving that advertising can be humourous and light during the perpetually serious times of coronavirus, and was produced at breakneck speed in just eight days.

Building on the brand's two previous point-of-view commercials, this new spot felt like a natural and almost planned continuation of the series. 

Simon Ratigan, who directed all three, explained: "This project came along and POV just worked conceptually because we could put a GoPro on an engineer's head, and although it's a slightly less professional-looking thing, the action and the authenticity are all the same. It was very easy for us from a creative point of view to move from the POV of a customer to the POV of an engineer."

Constructing the ad involved The & Partnership's production team hastily buying a host of GoPro cameras, shipping them across the country to various engineers and encouraging them to film everything and anything about their day. Ratigan also got involved with shooting, donning full PPE gear and pretending to be an engineer in his family home to make sure that they got everything they needed.

Trust was a factor mentioned by both Ratigan and Micky Tudor, executive creative director at The & Partnership. Tudor explained: "I've got to take my hat off to our client British Gas who are brilliant and were brilliant with their trust, because I don't think they could have imagined what was achievable in eight days".

From quickly buying camera kit to making decisions on Simon being the director, Tudor explained the need to be "incredibly decisive. We had to get heads together very early on so the decision-making was immediate."

Ratigan described trying to keep his process the same as if everyone was walking on to a set by relaxing them over Zoom calls and then briefing them as much as possible, so they knew what to capture.

He hailed the process as being "very liberating for filmmakers and creators. If you're happy to trust the process, it's a fact that things can be done really quickly and really cheaply. If you totally trust and you don't mind the lack of control."

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