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12 January 2018

The kindness of strangers.

by Jason Stone

Cadbury: “Mum's Birthday” - 60s

If this film is anything to go by, Cadbury made a very wise decision when they appointed VCCP last year... because it's an absolute belter. Academy's Frédéric Planchon has told a simple tale with beautifully weighted delicacy and if you're unmoved by it then it's probably time for a cardiogram to ensure your heart is functioning properly.

Every decision is right. As the ad begins, Planchon offers a meaningful glimpse into the hassled life of a working class mum. The casting is perfect and so is the wardrobe. Both are brave in their own way because they row against a tide of prejudice against mums that look like this, and reminds us that many parents in her position are doing everything they can just to keep their heads above the water.

All of which is established in an opening sequence which is just seven seconds long.

What follows is a tender depiction of two acts of kindness. The woman's young daughter walks into a small shop while she waits for mum to finish an unwelcome phone call. She wants to buy a bar of chocolate because - it later turns out - it's mum's birthday... but she doesn't have enough money. Planchon enables us to read the mind of the man behind the counter as he glances at mum and puts it all together, and his consequent act of generosity is played out with wonderful understatement.

We suspect there was probably a debate about whether mum should look into the shop once her daughter hands her the chocolate, aware of what must have unfolded. But there was no need and the lack of acknowledgement makes the shopkeeper's gesture all the more meaningful.

It's a first rate script from Rob Ellis and Peter Reid at VCCP, undoubtedly with able support from ECD Darren Bailes and CDs Chris Birch and Jonny Parker which has been brought to life by Planchon with something approaching perfection.

Creative Agency: VCCP Ⓟ Ⓦ
ECD: Darren Bailes
Creative Director: Chris Birch / Jonny Parker
Creative: Rob Ellis / Peter Reid
Managing Director: David Boscawen
Senior Acc Handler: Hayley Gilson
Account Manager: Florence Wong
Business Team: Matt Smith
Planner: Sophie Kerbegian
Agency Producer: Carly Parris
Film Production: Academy Films Ⓟ Ⓦ
Director: Frédéric Planchon Ⓟ Ⓦ
Producer: Lucy Gossage
Production M'ger: Bugs Hartley
Cinematographer: Justin Brown
Editor: Sam Rice-Edwards Ⓦ @ The Assembly Rooms Ⓟ Ⓦ
Post Production: Jason Watts @ Freefolk Ⓟ Ⓦ
Colourist: Jean-Clément Soret @ MPC Ⓟ Ⓦ
Audio Mix: Jack Sedgwick @ Wave Ⓟ Ⓦ
Voiceover: Aisling Loftus

David Reviews is hand-crafted by Lovely Lenzie Ltd, 7 Seven Sisters, Lenzie, Glasgow, G66 3AW. Editor: Jason Stone. Phone: 0141 776 7766. E-mail: jason@davidreviews.com.