Cider firm renews partnership with Oscar winning studio

Somerset’s Thatchers Cider have been back in the studio with multi–Academy Award winning studio Aardman for the latest chapter of their advertising campaign.

Airing for the first time at the weekend, the new series of commercials celebrate the nation’s passion for sport, with the pint-sized models adapting their cider making skills to try their hand at football and cricket.

The adverts use stop motion animation to bring viewers through the barn doors of Thatchers’ Myrtle Farm.

The first in the series sees Thatchers’ Head Cider Maker, Richard Johnson, reacting to a perfectly ripe apple falling from the tree, requiring football skills to match his cider making expertise. To make the models lifelike, Aardman animators based his movements on that of football legends.

The adverts will run across the FA Cup Final and UEFA Euro 2024 tournament as well as the women’s Euro 2025 qualifiers.

Having tried their hand at football, the Thatchers puppets will next be challenged to use their century of cider making skills to get across the line on the cricket pitch. The cricket adverts will broadcast alongside the Vitality Blast matches from the end of May and into the international cricket season this summer.

The commercials are directed by award-winning talent Magdelena Osinska at Aardman studios in Bristol. She says: “What makes Thatchers and Aardman such a perfect match is not just our shared west country heritage, but how we both marry traditional techniques with modern technology to achieve perfection.

“To bring our characters to life we blend traditional stop motion animation with state-of-the-art visual effects. At Thatchers they use their 120 years of expertise, coupled with state-of-the-art technology to create the perfect pint.”

With total dedication to their craft, it took a team of 34 people to bring the pint-sized world to life. Using puppets based on the Thatchers family and real people working at the farm, the animators shoot around 2 seconds of film a day.

Through painstaking attention to detail, such as using a toothbrush and toothpick to comb the dog’s fur between frames, or making the clothes from real fabric worn by the Thatchers, Aardman breathed life into the pint-sized models.

Martin Thatcher, fourth generation cider maker and star of the ads says; “Working with Aardman is a dream come true. We’re two South West businesses, filled with slightly obsessed perfectionists, that have used their attention to detail to become world leaders in their crafts.

“Down on the family farm we’ve been making cider with nothing but love for four generations and 120 years. It’s our dedicated attention to detail that delivers the perfect pint. It could only be Aardman, a company that shares the total commitment to painstaking perfection and is renowned for bringing joy to people’s lives, that could bring Thatchers to life in such an entertaining and heart-warming way.”