Monday, January 12, 2009

I'm in the new Hibernian Avivia Insurance TV ad

Yes indeed, that is me in the new TV ad for Hibernian Aviva Insurance, thanks for noticing. (Thanks Will, for the video link). It was indeed a challenging, but enjoyable experience as I endeavoured to bring my starring roles to life with an injection of enthusiasm and personality I felt would suit them.

In December I was part of the shooting over a weekend, where I played an investor involved in the bank runs in the 1930s, an emigrant from 1950s Ireland and a dole queue participant in the 1980s. Two full days shooting (9am start Saturday, 6am call time the Sunday) for such an integral part of the advertisement.

In case your eagle eyes missed my starring roles, here they are:

Me heading off across the broad Atlantic foam:
screenshot from Hibernian YouTube video showing Emigrant boat with red arrow pointing at indistinct figure towards the boat rear

Looking for my bank money:
screenshot from youtube video showing top of 1930s style hat, with no other distinguishing features apparent

In the dole queue (with the rest of the Commitments):
screenshot from youtube video with arrow drawn pointing at indistinct figure that could be anyone towards the rear of a dole queue

Now, in case you think i'm joking, it was quite a revelation to see how much time, effort and money went in to creating this ad - how many extras, how many costumes and how much time we spent filming in order to get those brief few seconds.

The 1950s emigrant ship scene was shot on the Liffey very early morning. This iwas probably the most fun to do. There were some 200 people there for a few hours providing tourists who had braved the cold with some pretty unique shots.

shot from 1950s style boat on Dublin's River Liffey showing people standing, cameras and buildings along the river including the National Conference centre

The level of detail was impressive, from the 1950s costumes

group of 8 women in 1950s style coars and scarves looking at camera

backs of people wearing 1950s style hats, coats and scarves with old suitcases at their feet

right down to the real-looking fake cow they had suspended from a crane above the boat.

shot showing cow suspended over Liffey dock with AIB headquarters visible in the background

close up of side of (fake) cow suspended from crane over boat

How did I look? Like a gombeen. Or me grandfather. After the funeral.

shot of Darragh in hat, scarf and coat with cow and National Conference Centre in the background

The 1930 bank scene was shot up on Cathal Brugha street. A call time of 9am to be in Temple Bar, a shooting time of 2pm and a finishing time of approximately 4.30. The overhead shot was achieved with some fancy camera angles

photo shows cameraman lying on camera trolley about 8 foot off the ground

shot shows cameraman lying on camera above people's heads facing a doorway

And some angry looking men. Considering how long we'd been waiting to move, this wasn't much of a stretch of our acting abilities.

four gentlemen in 1930s costumes - boating hats, long coats etc pose for photo

three older gentlemen dressed in 1930s attire face camera

group shot of crowd scene with gentlemen in 1930s costume and film crew and cars visible in the background

How did I look? Like a gombeen. Or me grandfather. After the funeral. I play that part well.

Darragh dressed in hat, long coat and scarf, posing with other guys in similar 1930s attire

I don't seem to have photos of the dole queue scene. Considering I'd spent the morning emigrating in the freezing cold, my fingers probably weren't working. Not to mention of course that digital cameras weren't invented in the 1980s...

I did, however spot this on the way home through Temple Bar. A photo opportunity if ever there was one...

Wall graffiti reading This is not a photo opportunity hahahahaha, taken in Temple Bar, Dublin

Being an extra, though at times a lot of standing around is fairly easy money. If it's something you or someone you know might be interested in, check out A brilliant (Irish) service where Derek, Don and Claudine would be happy to look after you.


  1. It's amazing how many resources and how much effort goes into something which we see for just a couple of seconds of screen isn't it?

    I like your behind the scenes photos :o)

  2. Good stuff including the ALT tags!

    Wish more would do that.

    Wonder if they'd just pay me for the dog!

  3. Rachel Hi there and welcome. It's pretty amazing especially seeing as we're supposed to be in a recession. I'm not saying the ad isn't impressive - it is - but I do think the money could be better spent. Thanks for the comment on the photos - I take loads, just difficult to know what to put in.

    Darragh - tis because of your good self that I'm putting in ALT tags - a comment you left ages ago that I keep on meaning to get around to. So I'm going to learn how to do it and how to properly describe things :)

    Sure, ask about the dog. All they can say is no :P

  4. You should buy a hat!
    It suits you.

  5. Grannymar No way. I'll leave the hat wearing to Darren. I'll just keep the mop of hair I'm cultivating now ;)

  6. Yep it does seem a bit OTT but isn't that how some companies thrive in a recession? By spending more on advertising as everyone else cuts back on everything? I don't really get economics!

    I am click happy myself and take way too many photographs. I love that fake cow. Looks like it should be in a gallery to me!

  7. thank you for doing the freeze frame to show where you were... i thought i was just truly unobservant :) Then i thought perhaps it was your voice narrating.