Some would say this was a match made in (doggy) heaven, as the veteran nodding canine, Churchill, teams up with the ever-popular actor, Martin Clunes, for a series of videos for the Churchill Insurance Company.
Martin Clunes rose to popularity as a Man Behaving Badly with Harry Enfield, and then Neil Morrisey in the 1990’s ITV sitcom.
But he has a more recent connection that stands him in good stead for doing a double-act with Churchill. In a recent ITV two-parter documentary, Clunes goes off on a world-wide adventure to discover how close the domestic dog is to its ancestor the wild wolf. The Doc Martin star took a fascinating, wry and witty look at why we are prepared to share our homes with dogs who are genetically still 99.8 per cent like wolves! Oh Yes!
In this first video in the series, Churchill the dog and Martin team up for a ride on a motorbike and sidecar. More Wallace and Gromit than Two Fat Ladies or Last of the Summer Wine, our three-wheeled crusaders drive through an idyllic village providing instant help to a number of locals, including a man who’s lost his kitten, Mitsy, and a handyman painting a fence! A nice touch is that Clunes says at the conclusion “Oh yes”- normally Churchill’s tag-line!
It’s a fast-paced inventive mini-adventure with “I need a hero” as the driving sound-track and sets a high standard for the rest of the series to attain. The adverts feature a new “animatronic” Churchill dog partnering with Clunes as they come to the rescue of the accident-prone residents in a sleepy village on their Triumph combination. The 60-second clip, which carries the new tagline, “For great personal service, chat to Churchill”, launched on 26 December and will run through until April 2012.
Clunes is among a privileged number of actors who decided not to take theatrical agents’ standard advice- “Never work with children or animals”!
Previously, Churchill ads featured disbelieving members of the public hearing about Churchill’s encounters with celebrities, including Rolf “can you guess what it is” Harris, Roy Walker, Melanie Sykes and Ricky Hatton.
In these series of adverts Clunes is on-screen at least as often as Churchill, if not more. Why? Marketing Director Amanda Walker said the ads aimed to demonstrate trust in the brand through the relationship between Clunes and the dog:
“[Clunes] is in every frame of the ad, so rather than Churchill interacting with lots of celebrities, there is one key relationship.”
The comments so far are all favourable, and there seems to be a number of people trying to identify the village used in the shoot. If the road signs in the advert are anything to go by, the location can’t be too far from Axminster in the South West of England. But that may be just to throw non-animatronic dogs off the scent!
See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&v=VM3BMR2kVRA
If you can’t wait to see the latest adventures screened on the television, then you can subscribe to his YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/thechurchilldog) or follow him on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/thechurchilldog).