The Paul McCartney Project

Filming of the “All The Best!” TV ad

October 1987 ? • Posted in “A day in the life

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From Club Sandwich N°47/48, Spring 1988:

At a time when many TV ads are cluttered with jarring effects, applied scatter-shot fashion, Derek Hayes’ effort for All The Best was a miracle of compressed invention. As premiered half-way through Coronation Street on 4th November, it went something like this.

A monochrome Paul plugs in ditto guitar (buzzz), ‘Band On The Run’ is heard, guitar acquires sunburst finish and shoots away to the sound of ‘Jet’ and a shower of sparks, followed by an amazed McCartney gaze. On cue, ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ buttons pop up, reminding oldsters of the Five Boys chocolate wrapper and prompting a matching smile from Paul. He opens a case and out march guitar, drum, sax and double bass, each carrying a word from ‘Band On The Run’ under his watchful eye.

The sunrise of ‘Another Day’ lights up behind and ‘Listen To What The Man Said’ is seen as Paul grabs the guitar. It turns into a paper ‘Jet’ plane and shoots off like the first one. A globe inscribed with ‘Silly Love Songs’ extends robot arms and blue (meanie?) gloves to grab Paul’s jacket, popping a flower in his buttonhole. A snoozing moon (‘Goodnight Tonight’) floats up to the sound of ‘No More Lonely Nights’.

So fierce is the McCartney ‘Ebony and Ivory’ keyboard style that the black keys leap upwards. A blue skyscraper and fireworks recall the ‘Lonely Nights’ video, then Paul straps on a guitar. At first strum it dissolves into flowers, then petals, to a shrug from PMcC and the sound of ‘My Love’. The flags of ‘Pipes Of Peace’, a bouquet for ‘My Love’ and the three megaphones of ‘Say Say Say’ all appear.

With the king and queen frogs of ‘We All Stand Together’ at his feet, Paul gratefully collects a bouncing guitar and watches the Band go by again. The McCartney form freezes into an uncanny replica of its album cover position; the song symbols swirl and do likewise.

All this in thirty seconds, yet with humour and invention keeping frenzy at bay. Had Mr. Hayes seen the album sleeve at an early stage?

We came in before there was a sleeve. Mike Ross told us his ideas and the advert was developed in parallel: we didn’t see a proof for a while.”

What was the schedule like?

It was a funny schedule, to fit in with Paul. The live action was shot in the middle, instead of at the beginning as normal. The globe had to be done afterwards, but the other symbols were animated before. The ‘paintbox’ and Harry, the Quantel digital editing machine, enable you to alter things quickly and without loss of quality.

Were other versions of the advert shown here or in the US?

There was another thirty-second one for morning TV, aimed more at mothers and children, with ‘We All Stand Together’ replacing ‘My Love’ and an additional shot of the frogs. There were also two different ten-second versions. The American ad was similar, but the frogs had to go as ‘Stand Together’ wasn’t on the US album.

Had Derek had much experience of combining film and animation?

Quite a lot, but this was the first time I’d spend a lot of time using Harry and the paintbox. It was a good opportunity to use the new technology.

What other notable adverts had he done?

We do about sixty a year for Our Price Records. I met Richard Ogden when he was at Polydor and we were doing the Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music compilation, Street Life. We have an OMD hits album ad showing now -TV ads tend to be for hits album.

How long did the shoot involving Paul take?

Two days. We would set up from 8.30, Paul would arrive at ten and we’d finish at six.

What was Paul’s input?

He suggested different little reactions. I was giving him eyelines, telling him where to look. There was a bit of low-tech involved: a string attached to his lapel was pulled for the bit when the globe reaches out and grabs his jacket. So that Paul wouldn’t just be waiting for the case to open and the Band to pop out, there was a guy with a string who had to whip the lid off the case before Paul could open it.

Has the advert been nominated for an award?

We will be entering it. There are various categories: Best Use of Animation, Best Use of Famous Personality, Best Special Effects. That’s in the Design and Art Direction Awards – there are other awards too.

Was it hard to freeze the final shot exactly as per the album sleeve?

Paul was imitating his LP pose really well. People would notice the change if you used the real sleeve.

Derek Hayes not only shoots a good advert, he tells a good story too. Thanks for your time and effort on both counts, Derek.

Last updated on March 26, 2020

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