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Coca-Cola, Chips and the Merseyside Derby – A journey to a TV advert

When looking back on the first weekend of December 2018, thoughts immediately focus on Divock Origi’s late winner in the Merseyside Derby. However, for me it was the start of a surreal experience in the minutes and hours prior to the match beginning. It was like a normal home matchday, waiting to be picked up by my friend Richard to head to the match, battling the traffic due to the numerous roadworks and then the usual pre-match routines before heading in to hopefully watch another victory for Liverpool.

Having picked up a portion of chips, we proceeded to walk to the Church pub, a very popular matchday pub located just a short distance from the stadium. As I stood outside, finishing the last of the chips, we were approached and asked a number of very random questions including if we were based locally as well as our availability on the Thursday 13th December. I said yes to both of those questions and was surprised to hear them ask if I would be interested in being considered for an advert for Coca-Cola that was being created along with the other 19 clubs in the division to celebrate the company partnering with the Premier League. I was told that each club was being filmed with a different style/subject. Having exchanged details and having had my photo taken, I was handed a flyer. I assumed this to be a marketing stunt and never actually expected to hear anything.

On the 4th December, I was emailed to be told I was on a long-list and to confirm that I would know by the end of the week if I would be selected/required for the filming on 13th December so I provisionally booked the day off from work in hope rather than expectation that I would be selected and sure enough 4 days later, the confirmation email dropped into my inbox to confirm I would be required to attend but that the location would be confirmed closer to the day.

With the location still not confirmed and it approaching dinnertime on the Wednesday, I was starting to think that maybe, they had gone in a different direction but just before half past 12, my phone buzzed and an email confirming my attendance and details in relation to what to bring and wear were emailed through. The stipulation of clothing was “Please come in the clothes that you would normally wear going to a game” with the caveat applied that “No branded clothing unless it is a part of your team’s football kit”

Thursday arrived and the winter sun shone brightly in the sky although there was a fierce chill in the air as I took the Merseyrail train across the water to the Wirral and Hamilton Square station in Birkenhead, from there, I walked to the Seaforth Ferry Terminal and awaited further instruction. First of all, we were all asked to get onto a bus before we were all asked to go across and wait in the Ferry terminal and were given instructions on what we would be required to recite whilst filming was rolling which was a slightly altered version of the Yazoo classic “Only You”. Those in attendance, as it later transpired there were actors (mainly extras) from various TV shows and movies who did not own Liverpool related clothing, were provided with a selection of Liverpool jumpers and jackets ahead of the filming.

Assistants working on the production came along with some Liverpool related banners including one bearing the slightly amended words to the song. At various intervals, we were required to do a full rehearsal to see where we were with different countdowns until we were heading out on the water and as that time finally came around to go, we left our coats and bags in a collective area. A number of takes took place for us walking to and from the ferry before we clambered onboard the vessel. The water was very choppy so it was a good thing that I wasn’t sea-sick.

There were several takes during around 3 hours on the Ferry with cameras on a smaller boat in the sea for a longer view as well as a number of camera crews on the boat for close ups. We regularly had to climb up and down from the top deck to the lower deck to warm back up due to the temperatures of the day. We were asked to do Liverpool chants including Allez Allez Allez to reciting the song from inside the ferry terminal. For the final take, we were asked to replace the line Only You with Liverpool.

After the event, I ran into Speedo Mick for the 2nd time in little over a week having ran into him before the Merseyside Derby and now he was getting ready to go and shoot his part in the commercial representing Everton and as it would transpire, my appearance would follow his on the final advert.

An email received on the 7th February confirmed the advert was now released and it can be viewed here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_XBxcIoZy0 – it is very hard to spot me but if you look between 0:59 and 1:02 you should see me but it really is a blink and miss it campaign. Whether some of the alternative scenes will be aired during specific Liverpool Premier League matches

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