How Pablo, Natwest, ITV and The Mill came together to support small businesses in the UK

The Mill joined forces with NatWest, ITV and Pablo to help bring a campaign to life that celebrates and champions small businesses by boosting them with a unique blend of business support and media collaboration. The first spot of the campaign aims to celebrate family-run confectionery shop 'The Buttermilk Fudge Company', based in Cornwall. We caught up with Pablo's Head of Production, Tom Moxham to discuss the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on small businesses and how the project came to fruition.
Thought October 20, 2020

How did Pablo become involved in the Extraordinary campaign?

Over the course of lockdown, we were acutely aware of how much an already struggling high street was taking a hit from the pandemic, so we thought it’d be cool to try and celebrate small businesses in an epic way, and give them the spot on the big stage, TV. We knew we’d need support and backing, so we took the idea to Natwest, who gave us a contribution for some hard shooting costs and a vast list of businesses to consider. And of course, ITV has given us the media time. Aside from that, we’ve had an unbelievable list of production partners who have helped out on this, mostly pro-bono. Wake the Town on music, Felt for sound design and mixing, Stitch who edited it over a weekend, and The Mill for post and finishing. We’ve had unbelievable support and a huge amount of love for it.


Talk us through the campaign: how long it will be running for, how many small businesses will be involved?

So this first launch film will be on TV for a month and will act as the beckoning call for businesses to apply to have their own TV ad. There will then be a process of combing through entries and working out who would be great to make something for. Then we’ll be rattling into production to make 3!


The first small business to be promoted is the Buttermilk Fudge Company, based in Cornwall. What was the process for selecting the businesses involved? How many applicants did you receive?

We looked at a lot of businesses and wrote a lot of scripts, but there was something about The Buttermilk Fudge Company that sung out to us. The business owner Tracy is one of the nicest people we’ve ever come across, and it’s just such a wonderful shop, bringing sweet treats to the seaside visitors in beautiful Padstow. From a filmmaking perspective, Cornwall, certainly in my mind, is one of, if not the most beautiful spot in the country, so I knew it would serve us well to capture the essence of the nation, which felt right for this first film.

My ECD Tim Snape had found some footage from a racing drone and we’d never seen a drone move like that. Normally they are super stabilised and a bit robotic in their movement because of the GPS. You can easily spot a drone shot versus a heli shot.  So the idea came to be that if we could have insect/bird-like movement in a drone, that could serve us the idea – literally seeking out businesses from the skies. The drone pilot was insane – he was using VR goggles to duck and dart through all sorts of crazy spaces, I am absolutely amazed we didn’t lose the drone to the Atlantic!


How might the impact of Covid on small FMCG brands like The Buttermilk Fudge Company have changed the creative behind the ad?

We’ve actually tried not to dwell on or touch on the situation as part of the creative, as everyone is so aware of it anyway. So instead we’ve just chosen to go the other way and simply celebrate the small and medium-sized businesses that are the lifeblood of the nation.


Why did the campaign decide to opt for traditional TV advertising as opposed to a mobile-led campaign?

I think purely because you just don’t see TV ads for businesses as small as this, so that’s been the big driver for why we wanted that to be the stage for this. A TV ad for The Buttermilk Fudge Company on ITV on a Saturday?! Mad! Epic!


What other companies can we expect to see supported in this way?

The competition will run from now and into November, so we’re super excited to see what businesses come back to us.


Find out more about Natwest’s ‘Extraordinary’ Campaign or check the many treats The Buttermilk Fudge Company has to offer here.



Executive Creative Director: Tim Snape

Head of Planning: Mark Sng

Founding Partner: Gareth Mercer

Account Director: Rachel Cann

Project Manager: Kelly Watts

Agency Producer: Tom Moxham

Production Company: Seven 5 Productions

Director: Simon Stock

Producer: Jesse Stagg

Drone Operation: Tom Wadsworth (Bad Wolf Horizon)

Editor: Jack Singer (Stitch)

Stitch EP: Kirsty Oldfield

Sound: Glen Brown (Felt)

Felt MD:  Natalie Dickens

Music Supervisor:  Dom Bastyra (Wake the Town)

Composer: Alexander Bradley (Wake the Town)

Post Production: The Mill 

Colour: Megan Lee

2D: Ed Poulsen / Richard Payne

EP: Misha Stanford Harris

Producer: Bruce Langfield