Our first ever TV advert!


For the first time ever Kirsty’s are advertising on TV- so if you’re an avid viewer of Coronation Street or Midsomer Murders please don’t fast forward your adverts because you’ll hopefully see it in early January.

Venturing into the world of TV advertising feels like one of those little benchmarks of success for my small company, I never really thought it would happen but I am really excited now it has.

We partnered with ITV on a small business scheme they run to help businesses who had never advertised before to dip their toe in the water for the first-time- which really helped us afford it without having to resort to bank loans or crowdfunding schemes.

The last time I was on TV was back ten years ago when I was on Dragon’s Den. Although that was a real catalyst for the company, I still struggle to watch it, even now.

Working on the TV advert over the past couple of months has been really fun and quite honestly, a little bit surreal- so I just wanted to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes.

The objective behind our TV ad

We wanted our TV advert to showcase our food ranges (click here to read more about what we make), especially showing the health credentials of our chilled meals and we wanted the advert to clearly convey our Thoughtful Food brand values. Spanish Chicken

Thoughtful Food encapsulates being mindful of what you eat whether you have food allergies or just want to eat healthier (click here to read more about our ethos)

We really wanted to get across the care that we put into making the meals, and show that we weren’t some faceless big business, so somewhat reluctantly I agreed to feature in the ad.

The memory of Dragon’s Den

10 years ago appearing on Dragon’s Den was the most amazing opportunity for me, but despite so many lovely people telling me how they found my story an inspiration, I have always struggled to watch the show.

I’ve probably always been my own harshest critic, but Dragon’s Den for me was a bit like having the worst of your holiday photos shared with everyone, it doesn’t matter that people say how great you look, all you can see is a big spot, your hair looking messy or a bit of fat.

So I’ve got to admit, I was a bit of a diva and insisted on a make-up artist for the advert, to keep my hair under control! 

Lights, camera, action: Bringing the advert to life

We  worked with a small agency who are local to us in Yorkshire (Mill Group) info, they were really wonderful in taking what was in our heads, adding some creativity and putting it into a storyboard.

We always look to work with people who get what we are all about- and that was quite difficult to do over a zoom call.

The set, actresses & costumes

Although I wanted to have an ad which looked good, I also didn’t want locations that looked like show homes and actresses that looked like super models (though Nicky & Sharon our two actresses were both obviously gorgeous).

The kitchen scenes with me, were all filmed in our development kitchen in our factory in Harrogate, which is probably my favourite place to be, way nicer than my own kitchen at home.

Our other two locations were family homes rented out for filming, both were beautiful & stylish but also exuded the warmth of a real family home. I definitely picked up some décor tips from both houses during the long days of filming.

Even though the locations were all beautiful a lot of time was taken deciding what accessories should be in the background of each shot. Things can look very different on camera, like a salt grinder which looks a little phallic, or vases which looks very shiny under camera lights.

We chose our two actresses because they both seemed warm & approachable, I felt like I could be friends with both of them and after chatting between takes I almost felt like I was.

Both of them gave me some tips of relaxing in front of the camera ahead of my speaking part at the end of the advert.


The Challenges of filming

Filming the live-action scenes in the middle of a global pandemic was, of course, a challenge and the shoot happened later than usual, during the autumn between the two lockdowns. The health of the small cast and crew was our number one priority and so shooting in a Covid-secure way was paramount. As a result, lots of face masks, temperature checks, Covid tests and a huge amount of hand gel were involved.

Contrary to what many people think they wasn’t any wizardry with the food shots, the food styling involved mainly consisted of making sure the pieces of vegetables being rotated so no one of them were catching the lights. Other than making sure we did our meals justice, my main focus was on minimising food waste. Filming things can be so wasteful, because there are lots of samples needed and generally after they have been filmed they don’t get eaten, which I really hate. So everyone from the shoot went home with goodie bags of food each night, and I was a bit restrictive with the number of samples we used. So much so, that we actually had to pad the bottom of one of the bowls with kitchen roll to make sure the food poked out the top enough for the camera to see it.

My other big challenge on the first day of filming was the my favourite outfit a pale denim blouse got tea split down it (yes it was me!), so I had to find an alternative outfit, which isn’t easy when you are in a factory development kitchen literally in the North Yorkshire moors. The pink jumper you see me wearing actually belongs to Hannah, in my marketing team who very kindly lent me the jumper she was wearing (don’t worry she had a warm T-Shirt on underneath) and basically saved the day! Kirsty's wardrobe malfunction

The one other ‘wardrobe malfunction’ I was keen to avoid was my mascara running, as I  ‘famously’ cried during Dragon’s Den, I made sure to use waterproof mascara on this shoot just in case history repeated itself!

Obviously the other key challenge of the day was filming so long with the Billionaire dessert without eating it! For the end shot of the advert I had to sit with a slice on my lap for about an hour, which as I have a bit of a sweet-tooth was pure torture!