Behind the Idea: Bringing politics home for the BBC

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With the 2019 general election fast approaching in the UK, the BBC has launched a promo for its coverage leading up to 12 December.

Created by BBC Creative, the film puts the power in voters’ hands by showing a diverse range of families across different communities and visits their homes all with one commonality; they look to the BBC for informed and impartial news.

Below, Helen Rhodes, executive creative director at BBC Creative, explains the concept behind the film, which took six weeks to make following the government's decision to call an election.

What was the brief?

The brief was to create a multiplatform campaign to promote the BBC’s extensive coverage of the 2019 general election. Within this we wanted to remind people that BBC News is on the side of the audience – it doesn’t have its own political agenda.

How did the initial conversations go?

With a snap election called we were already up against it to pull a campaign together in such a short amount of time, so we decided to make it even more difficult for ourselves by putting out three different briefs to the creative department with three different propositions.

The public service message was one of them but there were also two more as we wanted to see what type of work would come out of each one. This is arguably the most important general election in living memory, so we needed to make sure our messaging was right. The creatives rose to the challenge and we got lots of interesting ideas back.

Tell us about the concept?

As soon as Adam Reincke, the writer of this work, presented the idea to us we knew it was really powerful. The BBC is always on the side of the audience, so to come out with a message like this at a time when the audience need us the most felt like something we had to do. We knew him and his creative partner, Sarah Fox, would create something special.

What was the production process like?

The production process was speedy to say the least, so that was both a good and a bad thing. Good because decisions had to be made which kept everything moving, but bad because this was a large production to pull off.

We also wanted the film to represent the whole of the UK, both in the individuals and families you see on the screen but also the types of homes and locations featured. It was basically a location scout’s nightmare, or dream, if you really enjoy operating under extreme amounts of stress.

The film also had to be authentic to the idea so everyone featured lived at the homes where we filmed. There were no actors. Luckily we had a great production partner in Pulse, and the brilliant directing duo thirtytwo. They helped us create a film that feels raw and honest but also beautiful and empowering. We were very lucky to be in their very capable and talented hands.

What’s the main message of the campaign and why is it important?

The main message is that the BBC serves the audience. The public are at the heart of everything the BBC does and we are always on their side, especially during election time when they need us the most.

Why will the film resonate with the public?

At a time when emotions are running high and people are being bombarded with messages left, right and centre, we hope people will appreciate this empowering message executed in a calm and reassuring way. The hope is that our coverage will cut through the noise and offer people some clarity.

What do you hope it achieves for the BBC now it’s out?

We hope people tune in to the BBC’s coverage of the election and the nation will be better equipped to understand the current political landscape. And if it can encourage people to think more fondly of the BBC then that will be an added bonus too.

How satisfying is it to have released the work?

It’s very satisfying. When you work for the BBC, these are the campaigns you want to be creating. To make something that speaks to the individuals and families across the UK, the people that we serve. It’s great to see the campaign out in the world and to see the positive reaction it’s getting. Everyone worked really hard and we’re extremely proud of the finished films.




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