Director Gary Freedman, Absolute, Karmarama Warp Time For Lidl's Xmas Spot


Robert Goldrich
Monday, Nov. 22, 2021


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U.K. retailer Lidl takes us to Christmas present and future, bringing us to the holiday feast table to see it evolve over the decades in this centerpiece spot, “Always,” directed by Gary Freedman via Independent Films for London agency Karmarama, with visual effects from Absolute in London.

The wry spot underscores that the more things change, the more they stay the same. As the cast propels forward into future festive fantasies, the performance, script, and costume of each actor get a space-age overhaul for the relevant decade. Uncle Gary goes from living in Spain, to the moon, to FOREVER, and the turkey is cut by knife, then laser, then hologram machine. Meanwhile Oggy the dog goes from begging for a pig in blanket, to using a speech generating device, to mentally manifesting for it--even though he’s since “gone vegan.” Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Absolute were tasked with bringing the gift of VFX to a whopping 30 shots for the :60 edit. “Christmas ads in the UK are a bit like Super Bowl ads,” said Absolute’s Creative Director, Jonas McQuiggin. “They’re competitive, awash with spectacle and full of anticipation. So, when the opportunity to join in came down our chimney, we couldn’t say no--especially when the script was loaded with comedy, VFX and, most importantly, Christmas dinner.”


Client Lidl Agency Karmarama, London Nik Studzinski, chief creative officer Luke Ramm, Joe Holt, creative directors; Fiona Moseley, Louisa Whitehead, creative team; David White, TV producer; Amie Nedwell, production assistant. Production Independent Films, London Gary Freedman, director; Ciska Faulkner, producer; John Lynch, DP; Cat Meredydd, production manager; Katie Giovanni, food stylist; Cynthia Lawrence-John, costume designer. Casting Hammond Cox Casting Thom Hammond, casting director. Editorial The Assembly Rooms Adam Spivey, editor; Daniel Breheny, head of production; Liz Trnovsky, producer. Color Grade Company 3 London Jean-Clement Soret, Steffan Perry, colorists; Ellora Soret, color EP; Chris Anthony, color producer; Dominic Phipps, assistant colorist; Adam Stanndard, data lab supervisor. VFX/Post Absolute, London Jonas McQuiggin, Phil Oldham, creative directors; Chris Tobin, 2D lead; Harvey David, Lucas Warren, Tom Clapp, Nuke artists; Keith Rogers, Matt Burn, CG supervisors; Craig Healy, FX artist; Ollie Grant, Dan Baiton, Huggy Stephens, Sean Elliot, CG artists; Pedro De la Puente, concept artist; Luke Barker, graphics; Thomas Higgins, Tom Boucher, editorial; Ran Manolov, CG character design; Sally Heath, exec producer; Kirsty Ratcliffe, sr. producer; Maddie Godsill, production assistant. Sound Wave Studios Tony Rapaccioli, engineer; Rebecca Boswell, producer. Music Supervision Major Tom

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