CREATIVE DIRECTORS OF HAVAS LONDON, DAN COLE AND ANDY GARNETT, CHAT ABOUT AN AUTHENTIC NEW CAMPAIGN FOR EDF, WHICH STRIVES FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE BRITAIN.
The campaign, “Busy Doing Nothing” (set to the Disney-owned tune of the same name), celebrates the incredible lengths EDF’s employees go to each day to help the company fulfill its mission to help the UK reach a future with net zero carbon emissions.
What did you want to achieve with this campaign?
We wanted to create a big, populist announcement of the lengths EDF are going to, to help Britain reach a future with zero carbon emissions. A big part of providing that for the foreseeable future is nuclear energy which is always going to be a delicate subject area. So, we decided to focus on the people that are busy making it happen every day; the hard-working folks working around the clock, around the country, in all weathers, for the benefit of all of us.
EDF are doing a good thing, not just offsetting, which is often a cosmetic exercise. Hopefully this campaign will help people realise the wider mission of EDF and the humble heroes amongst us making it happen.
What were some of the campaign’s challenges?
This was, undoubtedly, one of the most difficult shoots we have ever been on. From the outset, we were determined to use the real staff of EDF everywhere we could, for total authenticity. We also needed to reflect the mix of solar, wind and nuclear power that are the immediate future of energy in the UK. Those sites and those people are dotted all around the country so there was no other way to approach the shoot than a road trip. Fortunately, we had also decided that we wanted a documentary approach to shooting this – with a very small crew so that we could be nimble and catch the real work going on and not just cliched set-up shots. We say fortunately because then Covid came along and would have made a large-scale shoot almost impossible this summer. Especially in and around these very high security energy sites that need extensive clearance and only allow a very limited number of people inside.
We then teamed up with the brilliant director Marcus Soderland and the incredible production company Academy and got on the road. 14 crew. 12 locations. 10 days. 1500 miles. It was exhausting and challenging but hugely rewarding to see the film at the end of it. And our client was incredibly happy.
The campaign is set to Richard M. Sherman’s Busy Doing Nothing, how did you settle on this tune and how does it add to the final film?
We’ve loved this song since seeing the film Christopher Robin a few years back. We mentioned using it on the first few days of working on the brief but being a Disney property and being written by one of the greatest Academy award-winning stage and screen songwriters of all time made it seem like pie-in-the-sky to get hold of it. Richard M Sherman is 92 and, with his brother, is responsible for ALL those songs you knew from your childhood; from Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Lassie, the Aristocats and Mary Poppins. So, it was a long shot for sure. But if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Our fantastic producers, and whole team here at Havas, somehow managed to convince Disney to license it and it makes the film what it is.
It is not often that you have the song before you have the film but doing so was definitely a big plus for everyone, from the client to the director. We knew the tone we needed to set on every shot to go with the music, so it just worked a treat.
What has been the response to the campaign?
Our mums like it. Not just because we made it (honest), but because it does exactly what we wanted it to. It’s a big populist, memorable (thanks Richard M Sherman) way of getting this important message from EDF out there. Oh, and we keep hearing people whistle the song. That’s got to be a good sign.