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Ad of the Day: EE stunt shaves Tom Ellis on Snowdon from 250 miles away in London


By Imogen Watson, Senior reporter

May 21, 2021 | 4 min read

EE has gone to extremes to demonstrate the performance of its 4G and 5G network, enlisting the help of Lucifer actor Tom Ellis and Kevin Bacon to do so. Shot live, the ad sees Ellis get a shave on Snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales) 729 metres above sea level. Only the shave is performed by a robotic arm being controlled remotely by a barber 250 miles away in Clapham, who is joined by Bacon.

Actor Tom Ellis has a close shave in this EE stunt on Snowdon

“How many times has your network let you down when you need it most?” asks Dan Treichel, executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi, on the thought process behind the EE campaign. “That was the guiding light behind the idea and an experience that will resonate with everyone.”

He explains that with that instruction, Saatchi & Saatchi’s creative teams got down to business to uncover where it would be bad for mobile users if the network didn’t work, considering all those infuriating moments, such as when you can’t get data to check exam results.

“We looked at a lot of ideas to bring this to life, many of them with big epic stunts,” Treichel recalls. “But the one that stood out came from Cristiana and Alice on the creative team, who had the brilliant idea of shaving somebody from across the country.“

The team started to figure out how to connect barbershops, but felt it would need more oomph and flare. And so EE suggested putting it somewhere remote, which Treichel calls a “eureka moment“ and an “exemplar of client-agency co-creation“. They then teamed up with the Mill, who helped to build a robotic arm capable of accuracy down to the millimeter.

As the stunt was a real, live network demonstration, Sam Kemp, products and devices technology director at EE, says that from the get-go, the team were focused on ensuring the experience was built with the EE network at its very heart.

“For real, no funny business, no boosters, no wifi. We relied only on our real-life network to pull off this epic vision,“ he insists. “It was essential to the experience (and to Tom’s beard) that the information from the barbershop in London could be transmitted almost instantly to Snowdon.“

He points to network coverage being a challenge, where the EE team hiked up Snowdon four separate times to test the network ahead of the shoot. “The vantage point from this particular spot on Snowdon provided not only the connection needed, but a pretty epic backdrop for the campaign,“ he says. “And getting the robotic arm up the mountain was no small feat.“

Kelly Engstrom, brand and demand generation communications director for EE, says success will be its customers believing that EE is the only number-one network. “It’s why we create campaigns for real using our network. You can say you are number one, and many people do. But we don’t just want to say it. We believe it and we want to prove it,“ she stresses.

You can watch ‘Close Shave’ in full above. To get in touch about Ad of the Day, please email

Close Shave by Saatchi & Saatchi

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