Live Virgin Holidays Advert Exploits LiveU


UK / USA: Both UK television and online viewers recently saw an 18-location live advert for Virgin Holidays, created by its ad agency AMV BBDO, with LiveU technology central to its success.

Aired during the September 10 edition of the X-Factor on ITV in the UK – and also via Facebook – the live advert immediately sent the world of social media into a spin. The Seize the Holiday campaign, of which this ad was the first, then continued for another six weeks.

ITN Productions, one of the UK’s largest production companies with both expertise and long experience in live programming, was first approached by AMV BBDO with the idea back in March of this year. Steve Gore-Smith, Head of Field Operations, ITN Productions, said, “We were immediately really excited by the possibilities but we could also see the very considerable challenges. We have handled a lot of very tricky situations with our news production but this was big, very big.”

As well as ITN Productions, a second production company was also brought on board - HLA – with it responsible for everything in front of the camera lens, while ITN Productions for everything behind.

Having considered satellite and fibre connectivity to bring the live images back to ITN’s London facility, the company instead turned to LiveU’s portable cellular transmission technology for flexibility, reliability and cost reasons. Already a customer, ITN was aware of the scale of the World Record breaking work that LiveU did with Sky News for the 2015 UK General Election. LiveU enabled Sky News to show 138 live video streams of the election results working with LiveU UK partner Garland Partners on the project.

For the Seize the Holiday live advert project, Garland Partners and LiveU’s events team managed the considerable logistical challenges and liaised with all key parties. Having checked every global location in a very busy two-week July period for both creative and connectivity possibilities – ITN Productions used a LiveU LU200 field unit to do this – it was decided that 15 of the 18 locations would use LiveU units.

Steve Gore-Smith, Head of Field Operations, ITN Productions said, “We confirmed that LiveU would be our main acquisition technology both because of its flexibility and robustness and also the unified management system LiveU Central. We had to work with crews that we knew – there were over 90 people in total – and some that we never met. Therefore the technology had to be simple to use and easily managed from the UK. This LiveU Central easily allowed.”

Having completed a dress rehearsal the day before from locations including close to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to visiting temples in Bangkok via Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida, the ad was cut live by the gallery director and vision mixer at ITN’s London facility.

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