DFS partners with Aardman for animated Christmas campaign

DFS, the UK’s biggest sofa manufacturer and retailer, has partnered with Oscar®-winning studio Aardman to create a multichannel advertising campaign that heroes its talented team of craftsmen and women.


The campaign – which features 14 DFS employees drawn from the sofa firm’s three UK factories in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire – is designed to shine the spotlight on the hard work, technique and artistry of the DFS team who hand-make customer orders all year round, honing in on the busy run up to Christmas. The work is the first installment in a new campaign by krow for the brand.

Each of the 14 DFS employees featured in the campaign were meticulously transformed into lifelike handmade fabric characters by the expert team at Aardman. The characters were then brought back to life for the TV campaign through the painstaking and precise art of stop motion animation.

Toni Wood, Chief Marketing Officer for DFS, commented: “As a brand, we’re well known for our wide product range and commitment to offering great value, but what is perhaps less well known is our heritage and commitment to handcrafting sofas here in the UK.”

“Over the past few years, we’ve worked hard to showcase the quality and craftsmanship that underpins everything we do, but the new campaign takes that storytelling to the next level. “We wanted to put our talented craftsmen and women front and centre of our brand storytelling and lift the lid on the role they play in making our business the British success story it is.

“The decision to partner with Aardman was driven by our desire to work with a partner who shared our ethos. Their unique approach to creating beautiful animation with painstaking attention to detail, perfectly mirrors our own commitment to craftsmanship.”

Darryl George, Creative Director at krow, said: “We thought Aardman, as another world class British brand, is a great fit for DFS to showcase the brand’s attention to detail and handcraftsmanship. We think they have done an excellent job of capturing the spirit and personality of the real DFS employees to let them tell their own brand stories and show the people behind the brand.”

The new campaign took over six months to produce as Aardman sought to depict the real DFS people and real DFS factories with forensic precision. Following weeks of site visits and nearly 40 interviews with DFS craftspeople, krow and the Aardman team selected 14 DFS employees to feature in the campaign.

Each of the 14 DFS employees selected for the campaign were transformed into a character measuring approximately 30cm tall. The lifelike models were then constructed out of a core metal armature and different fabrics with each one taking approximately five weeks to make.

“We used stop frame animation to create an authentic handcrafted world that would reinforce the handcrafted nature of each DFS sofa built. It’s been such a joy to work with the truly talented folk at DFS, who put so much attention to detail into the products that they create, very much like we do with the characters and storytelling in our productions.” added Steve Harding-Hill, Creative Director, Aardman

The advertising campaign comprises TV, press and digital will launch with 5” teaser TV spots throughout the day on Tuesday 1st November and teaser press ads in the day’s main press titles. The teasers will introduce the cute characters and tease viewers / readers to tune in during Emmerdale that evening to watch the first 30” TV spot ‘Special delivery’. The campaign also has high-profile spots during X Factor.



Creative Agency: Krow Communications
Creative Directors: Darryl George and Jon Mitchell
Art Director: Jon Mitchell
Copywriter: Darryl George
Executive Creative Director: Nick Hastings
Head of Client Services: Blake Armstrong
Account Director: Felicity Pelly
Senior Account Executive: Camilla Renny-Smith
Agency Producer: Emma Rookledge
Production Co: Aardman
Creative Director: Steve Harding-Hill
Senior Producer: Stephanie Owen
Editor: Ben Craske
Post Production: Aardman / The Mill
Sound Design: Laura Izzard
DoP: Jeremy Hogg
Media planning/buying: Mediacom

About DFS:

• DFS has been making furniture for five decades and hand-makes every sofa to order. With decades of experience going into handcrafting tens of thousands of sofas every year at its three factories in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, DFS is the biggest sofa manufacturer in Britain.
• DFS has more than 100 stores across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain and employs over 3,500 people.
• And now timeless style comes with a great guarantee. DFS offers a free 15-year guarantee on all sofas frames and frame springs.
• All of our sofas have been independently tested and awarded a British Standard for strength and durability. To achieve the British Standard every DFS sofa has been rigorously tested; undergoing at least 23 separate tests withstanding loads of up to 100kg to measure its strength and durability.

About Aardman:

Aardman, based in Bristol (UK) co-founded and run by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, is a world leader in animation. It produces feature films, series, advertising and digital entertainment for both the domestic and international market. Their multi-award winning productions are novel, entertaining, brilliantly characterised and full of charm that reflects the unique talent, energy and personal commitment of the very special people who make up the Aardman team. The studio’s work is often imitated and yet the company continues to lead the field producing a rare brand of visually stunning and amusing independent and commercial productions www.aardman.com