The family-owned hardware store in Rhayader, Wales, proved that you don't necessarily need to spend a truckload of money to make a wholesome holiday ad.
'Tis the season to be jolly and big companies are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to spread holiday cheer. With a new big-budget Christmas commercial or two making their debut almost every single day, brands seem to be in a race against time to one-up each other with their holiday spirit. This year, however, a family-owned hardware store in Rhayader, Wales, proved that you don't necessarily need to spend a truckload of money to make a wholesome holiday ad. All you need is a humble budget of $130 and an adorable 2-year-old with impeccable screen presence.
Thanks to its talented little star, Haford Hardware's 2019 holiday commercial has had people across the globe go "awww" ever since its release earlier this week. Starring store owner Tom Jones's 2-year-old son Arthur Jones, the advert has captured the hearts of countless internet users for its simple take on holiday commercials. Young Arthur absolutely steals the show in the 2-minute-long clip as he goes about depicting a day's "work" at the family-run hardware store. Set to a cover of Alphaville's 1984 hit Forever Young—performed by American singer-songwriter Andrea von Kampen—the ad promotes a simple message: "Be a kid this Christmas."
Since its debut on December 1, the commercial has been watched 336k times on YouTube and 138k times on Facebook. Speaking to CNN about the ad's viral status, Jones said, "We've had a great response these last two years, but nothing like this year. It's just been crazy. We just make it for fun, really. We try and put a bit of a spotlight on small independent businesses that you get in rural areas where we are, and we try and show that we can offer just as much as your high street chains."
It only took a day for Jones and his best friend Josh Holdaway to shoot and edit the film. Since they hired an in-house talent and did most of the post-production work themselves, the only money they had to shell out was the $130 they paid the recording studio and sound engineer for the ad's soundtrack. Speaking to Daily Mail, Jones said, "Whenever I watch the advert, it makes me well up with pride. Andrea recorded Forever Young in a studio and paid £100 for a sound engineer. I said we'd pay - so that's all the advert has cost us."
The 30-year-old added, "The aim is to make it the best Christmas advert of the year. The comments we've had so far have been amazing. Making this video with my son has been an experience I will cherish for a lifetime. They say never work with animals or children but he was a joy. He's such a bright boy and I would be lying if I said it was difficult to get him to perform on screen. He often comes to visit me in the shop, so weren't really asking him to do anything he hadn't done before."
This year's commercial featuring four generations of the family is the third Christmas ad made by Haford Hardware. "All three adverts touch upon the significance of family at Christmas and so it was extremely important to me that Arthur had a role in each one. Showing the transition of him as a young baby in the first advert, through to the young man he is today, really does capture the essence of what we have been trying to create. We are told every year that Christmas is for kids, but there's nothing stopping us all from being big kids at Christmas," Jones said.
The proud father and business owner revealed that their ads have become quite popular among the locals, with customers often coming into the store to gush about the heartwarming commercials. "The locals love them. It's nice to think we can put a lot of smiles on people's faces in the community. It's always nice to do something for the town. People always compare our videos to the likes of John Lewis and we try to get the same message across as the multi-million-pound adverts do. But there is an underlying message. We are just a small independent shop in Mid Wales trying to compete with the big boys like John Lewis and M&S. We've shown that it can be done on a very small budget," said Jones.