Behind The Work


Senior Writer and Editor
Patricia Murphy joined Havas Group in October 2019 as a Senior Editor and Writer. She has a background in digital journalism and content creation.

After a jolly Christmas break away from the office, New Year’s Day can offset intense return-to-work dread, particularly in those pondering their career choices. It was these back-to-the-office scaries that motivated the January 1st launch of Havas London’s latest campaign with the UK’s Department of Education, which aimed to encourage both school-leavers and those dreaming of a new profession to consider a career in teaching. The emotive short film, entitled “Tuesday” highlighted the positive impact a teacher can have on a pupil in a single day. The ad, which cast real-life teacher Addison Brown in its lead role, is a sequel to “Every Lesson Shapes a Life”, a short film debuted by the DfE and Havas London in 2018. Here, Creatives Sam Turk and Paul Robbins talk about the difficult task of following up such a successful campaign and why teachers are so much braver than marketers.

Can you tell us a little bit about the plot of this film?

Sam: At its core, the plot is simply a day in the life of a teacher, but it focuses on the life-shaping impact a teacher can have on so many students in a single day.  We decided to base the film around a Tuesday, to show that even the most boring day of the week is exciting for a teacher. Showing the rollercoaster of a single school day felt like a new take—concentrated and powerful.  And we wanted the viewer to realize that the students aren’t the only people that grow at school—“Every Lesson Shapes a Life” is about teachers too. This new take on the brand line gave the idea the edge.

This ad shadowed a real-life teacher, Addison Brown. Why did you opt to cast a real teacher, rather than an actor? 

Sam: The authenticity of the campaign is what makes it so compelling. You had to believe you were living a real day, so why not make it with a real cast. 

Paul: Turns out that teachers make great actors too. They’re used to performing in front of classes all day anyway, we just turned up with the cameras. Although the ad was heavily scripted, a lot of the final edit was improvised, and genuine moments of teacher and student interaction that we captured on the day were included.

The ad comes two years after the original “Every Lesson Shapes a Life”. How did the success of that ad inspire this one?

Paul: This brief had “difficult second album” written all over it. This is the second ad in the campaign, so it had to feel the same, but say something different. We decided to use the original ad as a counterpoint. The original showed a whole life, we showed a single day. The original followed on a student, we focused on a teacher. They’re two sides of the same coin. 

The film was first broadcast on New Year’s Day and was geared towards family shows like Great British Bake Off, Dancing on Ice and Coronation Street. Can you tell us a little about the audience strategy?

Sam: Launching during these big shows helped to create a lot of buzz around the campaign. The stroke of genius was to launch on New Year’s Day, just as the anxiety of returning to work was creeping in. Then we played out, showing you a career option, in a way you’d never seen before.   

Do you think you would have made a good teacher?

Sam: No way. I couldn’t do it, kids can smell fear. I did a workshop day in a junior school last year and after just a couple of hours, six-year-olds were bullying me. Kids are brutal.

Paul: I think I would have been a brilliant teacher. Probably missed my calling there… In fact, what am I doing here? 

What has been the reaction to the film?

Sam: There’s been an incredible reaction from punters and press. It seems to really strike a chord with people. A lot of teachers have commented on how proud it makes them about their jobs too. One unforeseen byproduct of the film is that Addison, our handsome lead teacher, has been getting a lot of love on social, and has since appeared on breakfast TV as a big advocate for teaching. Adland has been kind too, with a shedload of coverage. It was the first Campaign Pick of the Day of 2020, shortlisted for five awards at the British Arrows, and fingers crossed there’s more to come. 

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