Queenstown setting for hit British Xmas advert

 

A British department store is now broadcasting its latest national attention-grabbing and tear-jerking television commercial, which was shot near Queenstown, as part of its $11.7 million Christmas campaign.

One of the more than 15 production companies which shot commercials in the Wakatipu for domestic and overseas markets during the winter was Robber's Dog Films Ltd.

The snowman in the NZ-made Christmas television commercial for John Lewis, as seen on Glencoe Rd, Crown Tce, near Arrowtown. Photo by Robber's Dog Films Ltd
The snowman in the NZ-made Christmas television commercial for John Lewis, as seen on Glencoe Rd, Crown Tce, near Arrowtown. Photo by Robber's Dog Films Ltd
The Auckland company hired about 40 southern cast and crew members to work with its English director and Spanish director of photography to shoot the 2012 advertisement for retail chain John Lewis.

In the advert, children make a snowman and snow-woman on their snow-covered garden and are called indoors to bed by their mother.

The girl opens her curtains the next morning to see the snowman has vanished and the snow-woman is sad. The camera shows the snowman travelling through a flock of sheep and a forest, then across a stream, a mountain range and a motorway to arrive outside a John Lewis store.

The girl opens her curtains again the next day to see the snowman back where he was and the snow-woman happy and wearing a new hat, scarf and gloves.

British signs or telephone boxes were not used, but all clothes and dressing were imported from John Lewis.

Young Bath singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin sings a lilting version of The Power Of Love, the 1984 hit from Frankie Goes To Hollywood, which was released on Friday as a single.

A private rural Dalefield residence was used as the children's home and the Remarkables mountain range is glimpsed. The Crown Tce and Cardrona Valley also feature and urban scenes were captured in Auckland for the 90-second commercial.

The Journey was first broadcast in the UK on Thursday amid many press articles which credited New Zealand as the location. The commercial has been viewed more than one million times on YouTube.

Film Otago Southland executive manager Kevin Jennings, of Queenstown, said winter this year "was challenging in that it wasn't a great snow year, which caused complications when northern hemisphere film-makers come here in reverse season to get snow.

"The ones who came here ultimately got what they wanted. I think the crews just had to work harder to get it for them."

The domestic and international television commercial industry continued to be the backbone of the film industry south of the Waitaki.

Mr Jennings said Southern film-makers were looking forward to a buoyant time.

"Spring has been uncharacteristically busy and things are shaping up for summer," he said.