Harness the happy: social media video for April Fools’ Day

Posted in: Video Marketing


Social media ‘holidays’ are a great way for brands to showcase their personality and start conversations with their audience. Whilst there’s a ‘Twitter holiday’ seemingly every day, Talk Like a Pirate Day anyone? (September 19th if you’re interested) some are certainly more important from a marketing perspective.

April Fools’ Day has become an annual competition between brands to see who can come up with the most inventive, convincing or hilarious way to fool their audience and customers. We highly recommend grabbing a cuppa and taking a look at some of these roundups of cracking campaigns from 2016 and 2017 for some inspiration.

As well as being a great way to inject some fun into your digital marketing campaigns, social media videos are often an opportunity to generate PR, every year the industry and marketing press is full of round-ups of the best April Fools’ Day campaigns, like the ones above.

It’s important to prepare these campaigns so they’re believable and will fool people without being insulting or (too) controversial. Setting up fake product pages, sending out press releases and investing in making the prank seem genuine are likely to ensure your prank gets shared, giving your brand visibility and boosting engagement.

No one knows your customers like you do, so trust your gut as to what they would find funny and relevant, the best pranks tie into the brand and products in a convincing way.

We’ve been working with SunLife for a few years now to produce some of their most successful video pranks. They’ve seen great reach from these campaigns, which brought in new audiences and got them free press coverage.

Beard Insurance was viewed on their website 105k times in one day, with web traffic increased by 400%. This campaign even won 2 awards at the Financial Services Forum Awards as well as being featured in The Telegraph and Look.

 Courtesy Pet Cover had 528k views, 1.2k shares and was featured in The Drum.

 While last years’ Guaranteed Sun Insurance brought in 381k views, 78 shares and was also featured in The Drum.

Are you thinking of using video to prank your audience? As specialists in creating quick-turnaround, entertaining social media videos we might be able to help. If you’ve already got an idea, we can help you to bring it to life, or we can come up with something to get people talking. Get in touch to find out more.

Santa Claus comes to town for our latest SunLife social video

Posted in: Video Marketing

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and here at Happy Hour we’re certainly getting into the Christmas spirit. Our latest festive film for SunLife has now gone live on their social channels, once again showcasing an inspiring over 50 year old.

For this online video we sourced a local toy shop, Bristol Favours Little Treasures, in Bristol whose owner, 54 year old Jo, perfectly encompassed the traits SunLife promotes in their ‘Welcome to Life After 50’ suite of films. Jo always dreamed of opening a toy shop and her motto of “Take life by the horns and it doesn’t matter how old you are” is the perfect sentiment.

Production Coordinator Pietro Herrera explains why we decided upon this particular story for our Christmas video. “Toy shop owner Jo is a well-known and well-loved face in the community of St George, Bristol. With traditional wooden toys and a support for local artists we thought her shop would make the perfect setting for the warm and cosy Christmas video.

As we enter Bristol Favours Little Treasures we step into a winter wonderland complete with some of Santa’s little helpers organising presents. We were even lucky enough to have the big man himself drop by the office to record the voice over – a real feat given it’s his busiest time of the year!

Directed by Michael Wright and shot on location over just four hours one cold November evening, the Happy Hour team set-dressed the shop to up the Christmassy vibes. The opening was shot using a handcrafted miniature street set and a specially made snow globe, whilst our voice over session with Santa was recorded at Happy Hour HQ. The set was carefully lit and filmed using a Black Magic Ursa mini with vintage Carl Zeiss lenses that, along with the final grade, created that warm festive glow reminiscent of classic 90s Christmas movies.

We knew last year’s cheeky Christmas film would be hard to beat, so this had to be something extra special. It’s always a treat getting to sprinkle a little Christmas magic on a shoot and having Santa visit us at Happy Hour HQ was certainly a highlight!” – Nicola Tyler, Head of Commercials

These interesting, engaging and highly-sharable videos really resonate with viewers and are a great way for SunLife to showcase their personality and open a dialogue with their audience. If you are looking for fun, creative online video that show more of your brand’s personality, then get in touch to find out how we can help.

Our favourite 2017 video marketing statistics

Posted in: Video Marketing

As we look ahead to 2018, another year where video content is expected to dominate, we thought we’d round up some of the best video marketing stats from this year. If you haven’t already jumped on the video bandwagon, what are you waiting for?

2017 video marketing statistics infographicIf you’ve started looking ahead to plan your 2018 video marketing strategy, why not get in touch to see how we can help? 

Creating viral online video content for SunLife

Posted in: Video Marketing

Social networks are making it harder than ever for your content to get good organic reach. With changing algorithms and re-organised news feeds it’s become more and more difficult for brands to stand out without putting some cash behind their content.

We create viral online video content for SunLife’s social channels that is really resonating with viewers and they are seeing amazing organic reach and results. The “Life After 50” suite of films gets genuine engagement and creates a real buzz. Two of the most recent films have racked up 1.8 million and 924 thousand views respectively:

The story of Tessa Morgan, an 82 year old ballet dancer, has currently been shared over 28 thousand times on Facebook alone! Whilst the film of 63 year old DJ Bernie has been shared over 7 thousand times.

All the SunLife videos are filmed using our internal crew and fully produced in-house. Having all facilities in-house means we can offer budget friendly online video solutions to our clients.

Nicola Tyler, Head of Commercials, explains why we enjoy making this type of online video content: “The over 50’s are not the ‘silver surfers’ they once were – 50 is not old! The type of content we’re making is genuinely challenging stereotypes and long-standing perceptions of the over 50’s – something SunLife are increasingly keen to do. So it’s a challenge for us too, to find interesting and inspiring stories that are going to resonate – and it’s nice to see the viewers are enjoying the content as much as we enjoy making it.”

The Life After 50 videos are an ongoing project so watch this space for more inspiring stories to come.

If you’re thinking about shaking up your online video content then get in touch or call us on 0117 929 9797.

Here’s a behind the scenes look at a few of our Life After 50 shoots.

Beating the competition with Anana’s latest corporate film

Posted in: Video Marketing

We’re thrilled to announce that our latest corporate film for Anana, the contact centre solutions experts, won the product video demo competition at the Genesys international conference. That’s two years in a row that we’ve helped the Anana guys steal the show.

This year’s video was shot in the same style with our cast of toy contact centre workers but with updated, politically-relevant humour. We love creating unique corporate films for Anana as they allow us to really have fun with the concept and utilise our production skills with the execution. You can see last year’s film here.

Anana’s CEO Chris Woodward was really pleased with the finished film, “Our video is perfect and flexible. The attention to detail is great. I love the models, scenery and sound effects. Top banana!”

The video contrasts two very different contact centre environments, one that is using Anana Accelerate and one that’s not. It showcases how the Anana Accelerate system improves the ability of contact centre’s to deliver world class customer engagement whilst boosting efficiency. As a corporate film it was essential we condensed a lot of product information and benefits into a relatively short amount of time. The key was making the video amusing so that it grabbed and retained the viewers’ attention.

Creating this video involved a fun miniature set build with clever creativity required to re-fashion a variety of everyday objects into tower blocks and office sets. Our Production Assistant was also on hand to craft tiny costumes for our diverse cast that included a pretty recognisable boss figure, Rex from our previous video and Brains the robot.

The quick turnaround corporate film was filmed by our own crew in our in-house studio and directed by Michael Wright.

To find out more about our corporate film expertise, or to discuss you own video marketing needs then get in touch.

Bringing walls to life for Siniat’s latest online campaign

Posted in: Video Marketing

We’re pleased to see that our latest online video production has now gone live. The videos for construction and drywall manufacturer Siniat were made in collaboration with creative agency Mr B & Friends. The suite of 5 videos showcases a selection of performance plasterboard solutions Siniat offers to combat a variety of home and building improvement needs.

Siniat, who are one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of drywall products and systems, needed some short, snappy videos to raise awareness of their brand as well as their different performance plasterboard options. These videos needed to be a considered mix of educational and entertaining, encouraging homeowners and builders to look below the surface. So often the conversations we have around decorating focus on the decorative details such as paint colour or wallpaper without considering just how important having the right plasterboard can be. 

The adage “if walls could talk” is often used, but Mr B & Friends really ran with it, letting the walls actually join in the decorating conversation. With clever make-up trickery, Happy Hour transformed the actors to literally bring the walls to life!

Executing the concept required a lot of creativity by the make-up department, clever set builds and production expertise from our team. The turnaround for the whole production was very tight and the shoot day itself had to be perfectly choreographed to ensure we could get our two actors made up for four very different scenes. It was a fun, creative challenge to match the body paint styles to the sets and ensure the whole process fit into a one day shoot without negatively impacting the creative. To keep them recognisable and on brand, Siniat’s signature pink appears in all the videos.

‘If Walls Could Talk’ was concepted, scripted and storyboarded by creative agency Mr B & Friends, who came to Happy Hour for production and post-production services.

‘The strength of this campaign is that it takes a product which is normally hidden from view, and puts it front and centre, in a highly disruptive way. With actors painted into walls and talking directly to the viewer, we’re in no doubt of the message – use better plasterboard. We were fortunate to work with a great team at Happy Hour Productions who made the process completely seamless, resulting in a packed day with a great campaign as a result!’ 

To see all five videos, check out Siniat’s website.

 The online videos are being supported by an integrated campaign that includes online advertising, sponsored placements on leading industry websites and a dedicated area on the brand’s website. 

If you need production support or would like to find out what our years of experience can bring to your briefs then do get in touch.

We go nuts about nuts for new Meridian animated ad

Posted in: Animation, Video Marketing

Online video adverts for YouTube or social media are a great way to increase your brands presence without the higher costs associated with TV advertising. That’s why creative agency The Impossible Dream asked us to create a fun, animated YouTube ad for Meridian Nuts , based on their creative and storyboards. 

The animated 20 second pre-roll YouTube advert had to showcase how, because they don’t use palm oil or sugar, Meridian can fit a lot more nuts into their array of nut butters. Here’s the finished video:

Following the storyboards from The Impossible Dream we used a hand-drawn style of animation combined with 3D CGI to create realistic looking jars and nuts. The hand-drawn animation and simple styling of the advert kept the focus on the product and the message, with different ways of squeezing nuts into the jar adding a humourous touch. Creating a memorable, engaging video is key when advertising on YouTube to stop your viewers clicking the dreaded ‘skip’ button.

This ad was produced in house by our animation team. To create the wobbly line effect on the hand-drawn elements they redrew the illustrations several times, the frames are then rapidly repeated to create a sense of movement. Subtle sound design and a few escaping nuts add a light-hearted touch to the campaign that’s in keeping with Meridian’s brand.

If you are considering any video marketing, then get in touch to chat about how we can help you with social media videos, online web content and YouTube video commercials.

Happy Hour restore order in latest QuickQuid TV campaign

Posted in: DRTV, TV Adverts

The latest commercials for QuickQuid’s ‘Order Restored’ campaign are now airing. Created and produced by Happy Hour Productions, the 30 and 10 second spots feature the familiar freeze frame scenario that highlights how a short-term loan from QuickQuid can help cover life’s little emergencies. The first new TV commercial features a setting that will be familiar to many, trying to corral the kids through the weekly shop as disaster strikes at home.

QuickQuid Supermarket stillThis commercial is one of three new creative routes for the ‘Order Restored’ TV campaign, originally launched in 2015. The new ads maintain QuickQuid’s strong brand position and recognisable identity and like with the previous commercials, we wanted this ad to focus on relatable ‘real people’ in realistic and familiar scenarios. It’s important to show that anyone can experience unexpected bumps in the road where short-term financial help is required to restore order.

The supermarket commercial featured a set build and a carefully choreographed freeze frame sequence which involved additional visual FX work as well as clever props (check out the oranges) and in-camera trickery. A Steadicam AR Omega rig was used to seamlessly weave around our actors in our own elaborate version of the mannequin challenge.

The new commercials were directed by Michael Wright and filmed at The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol.

Take a peek behind the scenes below…


We have been making engaging DRTV commercials that really drive results for over 13 years. You can rely on our award winning team to think outside the box and bring new creative ideas to your brands. So if you’re thinking about TV advertising or video marketing to boost your brand get in touch.

Happy Hour ‘bring the Sunshine’ in new SunLife online ad campaign

Posted in: Video Marketing

SunLife, one of the UK’s leading financial services companies, launched their latest insurance offering which is guaranteed to get people talking. Launched on April 1st their Guaranteed Sun Insurance product is just what fans of staycations and British Summertime have been waiting for, and we were thrilled to create the online advertising campaign to launch this much needed new insurance product.

Developed by Happy Hour and SunLife’s content team, filmed on location locally in Brean, and fully post-produced in our Bristol Office, the fun TV commercial-style advert, showcases SunLife’s unique solution to the problem of unpredictable great British weather. Available from just £4.99 a month, Guaranteed Sun Insurance provides the ability to unleash ‘the Sun’s full 4.26 million metric tons per second of energy, directly to you and your family’s faces’ even on the cloudiest days, allowing families to enjoy the holiday they’d planned.

This new product is being launched at the ideal time as people prepare for their summer holidays, though the advert notes that the plan does not fully function in rain, but would at least provide a rainbow. Enquirers will even receive a free SunLife umbrella ‘just in case’.

This launch comes amid growing consumer demand for alternative insurance solutions and the Guaranteed Sun Insurance will become a part of SunLife’s suite of existing products and services that focus on improving life after 50.

This is not the first time we’ve helped SunLife advertise the launch of their more unusual new insurance products. Check out some previous ads, also launched on 1st April in previous years:

Courtesy Pet Cover

Beard Insurance

We’ve been producing social media videos for SunLife, in addition to their TV adverts, for years now and always enjoy working with them to create fun, memorable ideas that engage with their audience.

If you’ve got an idea for a fun social video campaign, or want to talk through different ways to market your brand online then get in touch – we’d love to work with you too.

Legal Disclaimer: Happy Hour takes no responsibility for any consumer being able to purchase Guaranteed Sun Insurance, and no responsibility as to the success of any said product actually working…

Happy Hour ranked 48 in Campaign’s Top UK Agencies

Posted in: Awards, Team News, TV Adverts

Campaign top 100 UK Agencies - Happy Hour Top UK Agency

Campaign have released their annual ‘School Report’ listing the top 100 UK agencies as ranked by Nielsen. We are thrilled to see that Happy Hour are now ranked number 48, up from 55 last year.

The league table puts us amongst some of the most recognisable names in advertising and it shows a rise in smaller independent agencies and production companies that are making the list.

2016 was a difficult year across the industry, political and economic uncertainty and a changing media landscape lead to a lot of the traditional advertising structures changing. We saw a lot of agencies moving their production in-house so competition in the production sphere was even more fierce.

Nicola Tyler, Head of Commercials at Happy Hour explains, “As a full service creative production agency, we benefit from being able to work directly with clients from brand planning & conceptual development right the way through to delivery. 2016 saw us deliver some really exciting – and effective – work for our clients and we’re really proud to see that being reflected in our boosted position in the Top 100 UK Agencies listing. It spurs us on in 2017 and we look forward to working on even more engaging ad campaigns for our clients, both old and new.”

Speaking of last year’s work, here’s a quick snapshot of what we got up to:

If you’re looking to boost your marketing and reach new audiences then get in touch. From TV and Radio advertising campaigns to corporate film and social media videos, we love helping brands tell their stories.