DFS partners with Aardman for beautiful animated Christmas campaign

DFS, the UK’s biggest sofa manufacturer and retailer, has partnered with Aardman to create a multichannel advertising campaign that heroes its talented team of craftsmen and women.

The campaign – which features 14 DFS employees drawn from the sofa firm’s three UK factories in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire – is designed to shine the spotlight on the hard work, technique and artistry of the DFS team who hand-make customer orders all year round, honing in on the busy run up to Christmas. The work is the first instalment in a new campaign by krow for the brand.

Each of the 14 DFS employees featured in the campaign were meticulously transformed into lifelike handmade fabric characters by the expert team at Aardman. The characters were then brought back to life for the TV campaign through the painstaking and precise art of stop motion animation.

Toni Wood, Chief Marketing Officer for DFS, commented: “As a brand, we’re well known for our wide product range and commitment to offering great value, but what is perhaps less well known is our heritage and commitment to handcrafting sofas here in the UK.

“Over the past few years, we’ve worked hard to showcase the quality and craftsmanship that underpins everything we do, but the new campaign takes that storytelling to the next level. “We wanted to put our talented craftsmen and women front and centre of our brand storytelling and lift the lid on the role they play in making our business the British success story it is.

“The decision to partner with Aardman was driven by our desire to work with a partner who shared our ethos. Their unique approach to creating beautiful animation with painstaking attention to detail, perfectly mirrors our own commitment to craftsmanship.”

Darryl George, Creative Director at krow, said: “We thought Aardman, as another world class British brand, is a great fit for DFS to showcase the brand’s attention to detail and handcraftsmanship. We think they have done an excellent job of capturing the spirit and personality of the real DFS employees to let them tell their own brand stories and show the people behind the brand.”

The new campaign took over six months to produce as Aardman sought to depict the real DFS people and real DFS factories with forensic precision. Following weeks of site visits and nearly 40 interviews with DFS craftspeople, krow and the Aardman team selected 14 DFS employees to feature in the campaign.

Each of the 14 DFS employees selected for the campaign were transformed into a character measuring approximately 30cm tall. The lifelike models were then constructed out of a core metal armature and different fabrics with each one taking approximately five weeks to make.

“We used stop frame animation to create an authentic handcrafted world that would reinforce the handcrafted nature of each DFS sofa built. It’s been such a joy to work with the truly talented folk at DFS, who put so much attention to detail into the products that they create, very much like we do with the characters and storytelling in our productions.” added Steve Harding-Hill, Creative Director, Aardman

The advertising campaign comprises TV, press and digital will launch with 5” teaser TV spots throughout the day on Tuesday 1st November and teaser press ads in the day’s main press titles. The teasers will introduce the cute characters and tease viewers / readers to tune in during Emmerdale that evening to watch the first 30” TV spot ‘Special delivery’. The campaign also has high profile spots during X Factor.

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