Belfast Telegraph

Video: Ballymena bear returns with a sequel to steal hearts yet again

By Ann W Schmidt

A lovable bear that captured the hearts of thousands last year is back in time for Christmas.

The heart-warming Ballymena Bear Christmas advertisement was seen by more than 100,000 viewers on YouTube last year. And now there is a sequel.

The new clip, created by Grafter's Design for the Ballymena Business Improvement District, will be revealed tonight.

Stephen Reid, the owner and creative director of Grafter's Design, said that when he was asked to create the advertisement last year, he wanted to create something with a narrative.

"We watched quite a lot of the really big budget ads and broke them down (asking), 'What is it that works? Why do people like these so much?'" he explained.

"And it basically boiled down to an emotional connection in these ads. There's a story that actually draws you in - there's a character you identify with.

"So we planned from the start to do something like that. We had no idea how successful it would be or if it would do as well as it did, but we had planned for it to be watched more than a normal advertisement.

"It should be more of a form of entertainment nearly, rather than an advert. But I was surprised by just how well it did. We had wanted it to do really well, we just weren't sure whether it would or not."

The advert told the story of a teddy bear trying to find its owner and was created to promote Ballymena's Christmas shopping and period.

It was posted online last November and had 65,000 views in six days. But the video quickly went viral and has since had more than 100,00 views.

Mr Reid said he hopes this year's clip would prove even more popular than the original.

"There's been a bit more of a campaign around the release of the video, and there will be paid promotion of it once it's out," he added. "I hope it will get more views than the one last year did."

For this year's video, Mr Reid had more time to work on it and to expand on some of the themes he explored last year. "There's more of a story this time, and we have had a bit more fun with it this time around," he said. "You could say it's our Home Alone 2."

Those who reserved their tickets online for the preview event will be the first to see the new video, which Mr Reid said will be a bit longer than the official advertisement, released next week. Mr Reid will also be sharing some production secrets at tonight's preview premiere.

"I'm really excited for people to get to see it," he said.

The event begins at 5pm at the Braid Centre in Ballymena.

A sneak preview of the new campaign

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