The latest TV ad from Specsavers (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zFDad67rgdE ) is set on a sheep farm in the Faroe Islands. Featuring stunning black and white photography, it tells the story of a shepherd who clearly should have gone to Specsavers – he mistakenly shears his faithful collie.
Star of the film is real Faroese shepherd, Peter Andreas Petersen, along with border collie Jim. Jim was born and bred in Wales, but now belongs to champion sheep dog trialist, dog trainer and wildlife photographer Absolon Hansen. Absolon is Faroese but still talks to Jim in Welsh. Just to reassure all you animal lovers out there, Jim was only given a light clip and none of his winter wool was removed as he is a working dog and obviously we wanted to ensure his owner was entirely happy. In fact, Jim enjoyed himself. ‘Jim picks up a lot of mud and his fur gets very matted, so he gets a clip from time to time. He loves it. He just likes to be the centre of attention,’ Absolon told us. Most of the ‘shearing’ effect was completed by some visual trickery from effects house Glassworks in London.
All our TV commercials have to satisfy the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre before they can be aired and we met their requirements to have a vet present who would supervise filming to ensure the animals’ welfare. Both Jim and the numerous sheep in the commercial were filmed under scrutiny of vet Kristina Dahl Joensen. Kristina said: ’During the filming process the crew from Gorgeous Enterprises took great care to keep the animals under optimal conditions and I am fully satisfied with the conducting of them. It did not harm the animals in any way.’
The haunting traditional song, called Mo Ghile Mear, was arranged and beautifully sung by Una Palliser.
The Faroe Islands were chosen as the setting for the commercial due to the spectacular nature of the landscape and the temperate climate - in spite of the Islands’ location between the Shetland Islands and Iceland they’re in the middle of the Gulf Stream, so temperatures rarely drop below 2 degrees. Saksun, the farming hamlet featured in the ad, has traditional grass roofed buildings and a croft house, which is preserved as a museum. The film crew were made most welcome by the islanders and by Tourist Board Head John Eysturoy, who also attended the shoot. ‘We hope that the Specsavers advertisement will help to show people in the UK what a beautiful place our islands are,’ he said.