A recent television ad from Britain's Hovis has gotten as much press for its cinematic scope as for the bread it markets. Shot with 750 meticulously costumed extras over a week in the city of Liverpool, the spot checks in at a full 122 seconds—one for each year of the company's existence.

The lushly scored piece opens in the late 19th century as an adolescent boy buys a loaf of bread in a bakery, and narrowly avoids collision with a horse-drawn carriage when he leaves the shop. On his way home, he passes through over 100 years of British history—including two world wars, the suffragette movement, the swinging 60s, a labor struggle and various celebrations. Finally, he enters his house, circa 2008, and his mother calls from the next room, "Is that you home, love?" He responds in the affirmative as a tagline appears on the screen: "As good today as it's always been."

What differentiates the ad from many nostalgic efforts is the inclusion of stressful events. Viewers don't just see proud soldiers marching off to war—we also see brick houses destroyed by the Blitz; images of a miner's strike counterbalance those of soccer fans celebrating a national victory. In short, we get a balanced view of history.

Your Marketing Inspiration: By including images of hard times, the ad positions Hovis as an enduring brand that has remained consistent, and desirable, throughout a tumultuous century.

More Inspiration:
Lewis Green: Now Is Not the Time to Hide
Steve Woodruff: Marketing Swagger
Ted Mininni: Pushing the Big 'O'

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