Farm has produced the creative for a national TV and radio advertising campaign being launched this week by the Electoral Commission, ahead of May's referendum on the voting system used to elect MPs.
The ads will raise awareness of the May 5 referendum and local elections, inform potential voters that they must register if they wish to vote, and tell them they will shortly receive a booklet in the post giving them more information.
The four-week campaign kicks off this Friday 1st April across TV (ITV, C4, C5, SC4 and BME), radio (national and ILR stations), and online - ahead of the Electoral Commission sending out 27.8 million information booklets to UK households.
"Referendums don't happen very often and the Electoral Commission is sending an information booklet to every household in Britain," commented Owen Lee, Creative Chairman at Farm. "Our job was to publicise that fact in a way simple enough to be understood by every age and every demographic. Our target audience was essentially every adult in the UK.
When given the job to advertise something as serious as a referendum on the voting system the temptation is to tackle huge themes such as democracy, moral duty and the gravity of the decision, however our experience working with the Electoral Commission has taught us that highbrow concepts such as these do not play well with the voting public - it's far simpler than that, our job is simply to tell people something big is happening and they need to look out for more information."
For the TV ads, Farm has turned the information booklets into 'a flock of birds' seen flying across green fields and household rooftops as they make their way towards people's letterboxes.
"The idea of bringing the booklets to life like a flock of birds sweeping across the country was designed to communicate that the referendum was a national event that will affect the whole of Britain," explained Lee.
"Aerial shots of the country give a sense of scale, the fact that the 'birds' are not revealed as booklets until half way through the commercial gives a sense of intrigue and the booklets fluttering, Harry Potteresque, through the letter boxes of people's homes gives a sense that something big and unusual is happening in a street like yours," he adds. "The commercial concludes with the line 'This May 5th something Big is happening."
The campaign was managed by the COI, produced by 76 Ltd and media handled by GroupM's M4C. Farm has used a combination of CGI and puppeteering to bring the booklets to life without making them feel too computer generated. The idea translated into radio by comparing the flocking booklets to migrating animals in a light-hearted way.
"The advertising campaign forms a key part of the public information campaign in raising awareness of the referendum and elections, and explaining what voters need to do to take part," commented Clinton Proud, Head of Campaigns & Public Information at the Electoral Commission. "May 5 is a big day for voters, with the referendum and elections taking place across the UK on the same day."