The recent death of Doreen Lofthouse brought to mind a commercial that Mark Andrews shot not once but twice for Fisherman’s Friend throat lozenges.
The commercial that launched
Fisherman’s Friend in America
Doreen Lofthouse who passed away recently (her obituary appeared in The Times on 9th April) was a remarkable woman. She’d single-handedly built the famous Fisherman’s Friend business from a single pharmacy in Fleetwood Lancashire, into one exporting to 120 countries.
An associate of Anatomised, Peter Travis, had handled her advertising and marketing for many years, significantly contributing to the brand’s success with creative and memorable TV campaigns and print ads.
Amongst these was a commercial written by Sheila Bull and Ed Floyd, directed by Terry Lovelock that Mark Andrews produced on behalf of Peter for the brand in 1985.
Then, one day, 25 years later, she rang Peter Travis and asked if she could run the spot again. She was about to launch Fisherman’s Friend in the US and wanted to use the film to herald the arrival of the product in America.
Mark and Peter had a real problem though. Try as they might, they could not find a broadcast-quality copy anywhere. Ironically, one unfortunate consequence of the ‘digital dividend’ has been the wholesale dumping of library material by postproduction houses. This has made it much more difficult to find historic material, than in the era of 35mm film, when labs permanently stored every negative.
That was that, thought Mark and Peter. But on hearing this news, Mrs Lofthouse simply asked them to reshoot the original script. So they did. In one very long summer’s day in Norway, director Ubbe Haavind and line producer Olly Ravaux replicated the original commercial, with Mark as executive producer. Interestingly, this is believed to be the last-ever commercial shot using 35mm film stock in Europe. Everything since has been shot digitally.
The finished film, now to broadcast standard, went on air, successfully launching Fisherman’s Friend in the vast US market. It was also testament to the great working relationship enjoyed by Doreen Lofthouse and Peter Travis.
One suspects that the only thing that ended that relationship was the death of Doreen Lofthouse.