Creative Director’s Choice: Simon Gittings on BBA’s ‘Long Live the Local’ campaign

Long Live the Local

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the work they think is the best out in the ad world — the ads and campaigns they believe are making a difference.

This week, Investis Digital creative director Simon Gittings mourns the loss of the Horns Lodge Inn in the Britain’s Beer Alliance ‘Long Live the Local’ campaign to cut the beer tax.

This column is supposed to be unbiased. But I’m afraid I have to declare an interest. I love beer. I love drinking beer in the pub. I feel sad when I see yet another pub closing.

This film, produced for Britain’s Beer Alliance, focuses on the Horns Lodge Inn, which after serving customers for over 250 years closed on 1 January this year.

Although it’s 30 minutes long, the action ends abruptly after just five-and-a-half minutes (sorry for the spoiler) with the announcement that the pub has closed. This is followed by a shot of cars driving past the boarded-up pub – a strangely emotional moment which touched me then and has haunted me since.

The rest of the time is given over to the text message ‘Sign the petition to cut beer tax’ and website URL. I would have loved for them to have just stayed on that final shot for the remaining 25 minutes or so – just watching a procession of cars passing by this once loved, now lifeless institution.

Prior to that ‘ending’ though, it’s a beautifully observed insight into rural pub life: the characters, the traditions, the games and of course, the important role pubs play in tying rural communities together. A place where people go to share time with others. Indeed, one of the few places we feel comfortable talking to strangers.

At a time in which we’re obsessed with bite-sized content, when 60 seconds of film is considered too long, I think it’s a fine example of craft. It shows how important it is to allow connections to grow rather than being forced. If you watch their previous film – a minute long barrage of pub ‘moments’ accompanied by a building soundtrack, and narrated by a suitably gruff, northern male you’ll see what I mean. It simply fails to connect in the same way.

I asked my wife what she thought of the Horns Lodge film: “I feel cheated, I’d made a connection with those people, and then it just stopped. How could such a lovely pub close?”

I rather think that’s the point.

Simon Gittings is creative director at Investis Digital in London.

See the film by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien.

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