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How F&F’s Elegant Rom Com Balanced Fashion and Humour


Associate creative director at BBH Marc Rayson tells LBB’s Zoe Antonov about how the brand’s new romantic spot opened the door to the fashion world beyond just value and location

How F&F’s Elegant Rom Com Balanced Fashion and Humour

F&F, Tesco’s clothing and fashion brand, recently moved from a value and location based choice to a style-focused one. With the help of BBH, the supermarket launched their new F&F platform, ‘Makes Fashion Sense’, parallel to the arrival of the autumn/winter 2023 womenswear collection.

Employing standard high-fashion tactics mixed with Tesco playfulness, the 30-second TV spot is all you could ask for. In the film, three models are cosied up on a bench in the new season F&F knitwear when a gust of wind brings Prince Charming - also dressed in F&F. Compelled to dramatically run to him, one of the models stands up and in a classically rom-com infused moment they embrace.

Then, in a moment of pure cinematic and comedic genius, the camera starts spinning around the couple, when the man notices the F&F label on the jacket. “F&F? You’re joking, Dawn,” he says. “It’s the jacket of the season Gary,” she delivers her line in a Keira Knightley-level moment. Marc Rayson, associate creative director at BBH, explains that the team wanted to juxtapose the beautiful cinematography with a moment of silly scripting, delivered with an almost sales-y intention, which made the entire thing even more hilarious.

“I really love it,” Gary says. And the rest is history. So is the other part of the campaign - a nationwide OOH featuring breathtaking visuals, with copy that also undercuts them, mirroring the comedic timing of the TV spot. “Super soft body-con. Feels proper expensive,” reads one of the posters. 

LBB’s Zoe Antonov spoke to Marc to find out more about the making of the spot and the skillfulness behind the tone delivery.

LBB> What was the brief for this spot and what were the initial conversations around it?

Marc> First we landed on the brand idea of ‘Makes Fashion Sense.’ A platform that brings the world of fashion and Tesconess together. Then we had to find a way to launch it. From the get go, there was a rough structural idea of setting up a big fashion film and then undercutting it with a bit of unexpected charm and cheekiness. Surprise was also a theme we couldn’t ignore. After seeing the AW23 collection for myself, I can’t remember my exact words, but they were similar to, “Oh hello, do they do mens?” Everything looked great, and everything was available at… Tesco! So that feeling led to the script.  

LBB> What was your creative relationship with the client like and what was Tesco’s involvement in the project?

Marc> The creative relationship was as strong as Dawn and Gary’s. You have a fairly high chance of producing something decent when the client team doesn't just want to hit a deadline, but genuinely wants to make a standout piece of work. So massive credit must go to them for backing the creative idea. They were a dream to work with. They even sent me the jacket to wear. 

LBB> F&F's move to being a style-focused choice is accompanied by some subtle comedy in the spot - why was that your choice and was there a worry that it wouldn't carry through the new brand messaging?

Marc> F&F is in a unique position where it offers great fashion while also being highly accessible from Tesco. That combination allowed a lot of playfulness, which is rare in the world of fashion. 

The interesting part was finding the right balance between fashion and humour because, as we all know, fashion isn’t known for down to earth comedy. To be fair, I’m not known for my chic flair and panache. So the secret was having legends like [art director] Zoë Stott and [creative director] Karen Davidson on the team who really know fashion. The more stylish and fashionable the film looked, the more licence we had to have fun with it. 

LBB> The shot where the camera circles the two characters is magical - how did you achieve it and why did you go for it?

Marc> ‘Magical’ is also an apt description of our director, Elena Petitti di Roreto. The circling camera was a big part of her treatment, adding elegance and romance to the scene and strengthening the twist. It also contributed to a major tonal decision of not pulling the rug in a slapstick manner. From the off, I loved the idea of remaining in the romance of the moment after the label reveal. The camera continuing to spin somehow made everything the actors said much, much funnier. So whenever I present scripts now, I spin around the meeting room. Everything’s funnier on the move. 

LBB> There is very minimal copy in the script - tell me about the choice of lines and why were they the right ones to carry the message?

Marc> I basically watched the end embrace scene in ‘Lost in Translation’ a trillion times and imagined what they would be saying if Bill Murray found out Scarlett Johanssonn’s jacket was from F&F. In a way, keeping the dialogue quite simple and even a tiny bit salesy felt funny as long as it was delivered sincerely, which our cast did brilliantly. What really helped was testing different options in the casting process. One thing Elena and I tried was the vague idea of having them say something close to what they should be saying in that moment and twisting it to be about the jacket. 

LBB> Tell me about the aesthetics of the spot - it looks like an old time-y rom com - and why did you go for that?

Marc> The genre of the script scenario lent itself nicely to an aesthetic often seen in fashion films. That strong look helped set up the twist. Also, the aviator jacket had a really classy feel about it, so it deserved a fitting environment, hence the grounds. Even though the film gets playful with fashion, it’s still a fashion ad, so it had to look great. And it meant going on a business trip to Kent, which I'll always recommend.

LBB> What was the most fun part of creating the campaign?

Marc> Naming the characters Dawn and Gary. Not just because they’re down-to-earth, relatable names, but because my auntie and uncle are actually called Dawn and Gary. I didn’t tell them either. I just told them to listen out for something between Coronation Street. 

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BBH London, Tue, 19 Sep 2023 16:32:00 GMT