ITV runs a knitted ad break

This evening, during its Text Santa charity fundraiser, ITV ran an ad break created in the medium of wool. Brands including BT, British Gas, Nationwide, DFS, Amazon Prime and Dreams all saw their usual ads recreated in knits during the break – we talk to ITV Creative about how it was done.

This is the second time that ITV has taken an experimental approach to an ad break – back in February 2014, it ran a series of ads created in Lego, to promote the launch of The Lego Movie. The decision to make a knitted version was prompted from the Text Santa show itself, which features a Christmas jumper theme and asks viewers to “do your bit in a Christmas knit”.

The ads were created in-house at ITV Creative with puppet makers Mackinnon & Saunders providing the knitted characters, which are all genuinely made of wool. “There’s no special effects in any of them,” says ITV Creative head of production Katie Carew. “It would have been a simpler route but it didn’t really have the craft in it we were after.

“Mackinnon & Saunders actually made all the armatures for every single model,” continues Carew. “Everything that moves has an armature inside of it, and they knitted the outfits to go around the outside of them.” The sets then feature knitted items within them, including trees made of pom-poms.

Behind-the-scenes photos by Mark Seaton
Behind-the-scenes photos by Mark Seaton

Incredibly, the whole ad break was created in just five weeks, with the only non-handmade features being some graphics work on the screens and tablets, which “wouldn’t be legible in knit”, according to Carew.

All the brands were incredibly supportive of the project. “The success of the Lego break definitely eased the way,” says Victoria Findlay, head of account management at ITV Creative. “The one thing that we’ve been exceptionally lucky with throughout the process is the spirit with which all of the brands have got involved. They’ve trusted us with their creative product and recreating it in a new knitted world.”


ECD: Tony Pipes
Head of Production: Katie Carew
Head of Account Management: Victoria Findlay
Producer: Janet Smith
Director: Tobias Fouracre
DOP: Malcolm Hadley
Art director: Andrew Farago
Puppet makers: Mackinnon & Saunders
Post production: Envy

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