The last time we heard from Nick Entwistle of One Minute Briefs here on Adland, we were publishing his essay on ‘What it feels like to have a heart attack at 26 years old’. He finished that piece by writing ‘I would never say that it’s a good thing that it happened…but maybe it is?’ Finding the positive in a difficult or traumatic experience isn’t easy, or always even possible. But in this instance, Nick has turned tragedy into something much more – and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say he’s transformed his experience into making a mark on history – with a UK Christmas No1 that he was instrumental in achieving.

Nick is clearly someone who believes in working tirelessly. In between a day job as a Creative Director, he runs One Minute Briefs, Agency Quotes, and most recently has been involved in this successful chart topping hit. What’s really fascinating about this hit is how the concept evolved and got built up over several months.

The idea began as an OMB, or One Minute Brief challenge, to show support for the NHS. This in turn became a runaway success as people held up ‘I DO’ posters to illustrate how much they cared, a play on the winning idea of using wedding vows.

This ‘Love Your NHS’ campaign by OMB Winner Stephen Hunter became a powerful and emotive music video to a song, as sung by the NHS Choir. And that song, eventually with lots of hard work and push from thousands of NHS supporters became an official Christmas No1.

And yes, even artists Justin Bieber and Rage Against The Machine got involved.

There’s a fascinating element of evolution here, as we can see how the idea started relatively small with a simple One Minute challenge, and became something else, then something else again as it went through several permutations and developments to grow and become bigger. Anyone in advertising will understand this is how ideas work on a practical basis – nothing springs into existence ‘ex nihlo’ – but this is a marvellous case study to see how concepts get built up.

The song 'A Bridge Over You' by the NHS Choir and Lewisham and Greenwhich Trust group is a mix of Simon and Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and Coldplay's 'Fix You’. All proceeds from the track are shared between charities Carers UK and Mind. Plus, it sounds pretty damn great too.

We spoke with the man behind the song, Nick Entwistle, to get the inside story.

Adland: Hi Nick. How were you involved in this project?

Nick: I was personally involved after working with The Gate Films recently.

We did a One Minute Brief competition with the aim of creating a film for the best idea to support the NHS. The campaign reached half a million people within a couple of days on FB and the NHS choir got in touch with us to see if we could make their music video for their Number 1 push. The idea that won was done by @stephenhunter21 based on wedding vows and shows the relationship between the public and the NHS.

To build content and awareness we ran a second OMB and asked people ‘Do you #LoveYourNHS?’ People responded holding up ‘I DO’ signs which related back to the ‘vows’ theme. These were all used in the final music video.

The video itself was shot all in one day at Lewisham Hospital. Produced by the Gate Films and directed by Oliver Warren of Dingo Bill, who also kindly donated their camera equipment and time to the shoot the music video.

Adland: Has the support and national press exceeded your expectations?

Nick: The support and press has definitely exceeded expectations. Politicians, footballers, TV presenters, musicians and, of course, even Justin Bieber got involved which took the campaign across the world. It could not have been any better.

Adland: What message are you sending to the government with an NHS no1?

Nick: The message we are sending out is that the British Public love the NHS and long may that continue.

Adland: What does it mean to you, to have been part of a Christmas no1 campaign?

Nick: 10 months ago, I thought my life was over...whether I survived or not. The NHS saved me, rebuilt my confidence & helped me to achieve the things I wanted. One of those things was a Christmas Number 1. And, we did it.

I am hugely proud to have been a part of it and give something back.

Thanks to every single one of you who supported the #LoveYourNHS campaign.

Official #XmasNo1 2015 #LoveYourNHS Produced by @TheGateFilms & @OneMinuteBriefs
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about the author

David Felton Aspiring copywriter in London. Has worked in Copenhagen and Ne York city.

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