thoughts by Ben

I have come to realise that the main thing we do on this site is moan about things. Which is all well and good, we like a good rant, but it’s sometimes good to talk about good things. So, one of the one things we moan about the most is television adverts (see the Mazda advert post for example). In these tough times with persistently awful comparison sites spewing visual garbage onto our screens, it is hard to recognise, much less appreciate the better adverts out there, the ones that are getting it right.

The example i’d like to talk about is the Hive advert. This advert has got it all for me. Good animation, decent humour, a catchy song and of course… a ukulele! The premise of the advert is about Hive being a heating system that you can control remotely… or something like that. It explains this by showing you a series of absurd things that could be going on in your life while all the time your heating can be controlled from your phone.

It’s a good product, though why you’d want to control the heating in your house while you’re not in your house is a bit odd. I guess if you’re in the house and too lazy to get up off the sofa to sort the heating it’s good to be able to do it using your phone. So long as you don’t lose your phone. Then you’ll end up with some homeless guy controlling your heating saying “Why isn’t this gizmo making me pasta?!” Although I suppose if you’re on your way home on a cold winter’s night and you want to come in to a warm house, but don’t want to leave the heating on all day while you’re out, this would be good.

Anyway, back to the ad. First, the song. I’m a sucker for adverts with ukuleles in, so as soon as I heard this it made me happy. The song is pretty simple and quite silly, suggesting a list of crazy scenes like ‘surfing on a cab’ and ‘having a kickabout with a team of giant trout’. Actually, that is one bad point, the rhymes. The first line is ‘surfing on a cab, while visiting your mad dad’ which isn’t a great rhyme and the second line isn’t silly so it feels like it’s just in there to rhyme, and the next one ‘shopping for some trousers, when it starts snowing on your schnowzers’ is just really bad. But it sort of… you don’t really notice it too much because there’s a kind of innocence about it. The singer isn’t singing it like a big pop song, it still sounds like a little ditty that he wrote in his room and is playing for a friend. The fact that it’s just one guy singing over ukuleles – as opposed to a full on band with guitars – reminds you that it’s not meant to be taken seriously, it’s just a fun little ad to show you a new product. It sort of reminds me of the Apple billboards. While Apple products are so good that they just show you the back of the phone and that’s it, this advert is just simple and fun and it only really mentions the product a few times – and even then it’s just the same one line – but it still works. One point though, the song says “While Hive is busy controlling your heating at home” but surely you’re the one who is controlling it. It’s you using the app, not them. They should maybe look at changing the lyrics to “While you’re controlling your heating at home using Hive”, I think that would make more sense. Admittedly it’d be less catchy, but for the sake of accuracy it works.

As for who sings it, I had to dig quite deep. I’m guessing whoever sung it doesn’t want to be named, but I found out that Colin Smith is credited as ‘musician’ so I’m guessed it was him. In fact I’ll put a list of the credits at the bottom of this article. I looked him up and it sounds like it was him. Here’s a song by him:

The animation – a combination of Cel and 3D – again is quite simple (to look at, I doubt it was simple to make) with a light colour palette, hand drawn images that are roughly coloured in, and lots of flowing movement. It’s very nice. It’s not in your face, again it’s friendly and it matches the song.

Interestingly, the video has got a lot of negative comments on YouTube, with people complaining that it’s irritating. These are people that probably can’t distinguish between ‘catchy’ and ‘annoying’.

They have also released a series of shorter videos with just one line from the song. The example above is not in the song in the video at the top, so maybe they had a few lines that didn’t make the cut. I really like the fact that they’ve done this, because it’s like you’re seeing behind the scenes and they’re really working on it properly, not just making the one advert and that’s it. These videos seem to have more of a mixed response, with fewer comments but still a heated debate. The website also has video tutorials for how to use the product. They are very good tutorials. They show you how to do things very effectively and they don’t go on and on like some tutorials. This company has really got it right with these videos. Although, it says ‘by British Gas’, which surprised me because the British Gas adverts aren’t great. They’re okay. It’s a good theme of ‘helping you look after your world’ and the people on their own little planets, but they ruined it when they started introducing things like ‘The British Gas Team’. But i’m going to stop there because this is a positive article.

In fact, as I did some research for this article, I delved into the Hive brand itself and was very impressed. The website is clean and consistent and very inviting. The creators of the ad, Buck, are very very good. I really like their style, having seen some beautiful 2D animation on their site, as well as some exciting work for google (this for example). I really like the agency’s simple, friendly style. Instead of shouting at you and throwing products in your face, they produce creative and interesting work.

So in conclusion, a lot of people seem to hate this advert, and maybe it’s just me being a fan of ukuleles, silly songs and nice animation, but I really like this ad. What about you? Do you like it? Is it cool and catchy or just plain annoying? Leave your comments below and let’s get a heated debate going. *snigger* geddit?! Heated! Cos it’s an advert all about heating! Oh forget it. Don’t know why I bother.

Anyway, here’s a parody of the Hive advert song about the Hive advert.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /] [vision_divider style=”hr-dotted”]

So here’s who made the advert:

Directed by BUCK
Executive Creative Director: Ryan Honey
Associate Creative Directors: Joe Mullen, Steve Day
Executive Producer: Maurie Enochson
Producers: Ashley Hsieh, Hilary Wright
Coordinators: Emily Suvanavej, Kaitlyn Mahoney
Designers: Joe Mullen, Gunnar Pettersson Joshua Harvey, Ken Gunn Lee, Xoana Herrera
Cel Animation: Song Kim, Kendra Ryan, Claudio Salas, Matt Everton, William Trebutian, Steve Day, Joe Mullen, Gunnar Pettersson, Andreas Bjoern Hansen, Thierno Bah, Taik Lee, Connie Chan, Yoav Shtibelman, Mike Bertino, Alan Foreman, Ben Choi
AE Animation & Compositing: Claudio Salas, Moses Journey, Albert Omoss, Andreas Bjoern Hansen, Esteban Esquivo, Justin Mays, Andrew Tan, Yan Sedie, Rachel Yonda
3D Artist: Ana Luisa Santos
3D Animation: Lindsey Butterworth
Storyboards: Morgan Schweitzer
Sound Studio: Factory Studios
Musician: Colin Smith


  1. Joe on 19/04/2014 at 12:03 pm

    How is your life? Clearly your addicted to crystal meth.

  2. Jacko on 20/04/2014 at 3:41 pm

    “These are people that probably can’t distinguish between ‘catchy’ and ‘annoying’.”
    The internet is filled with folks who hate it, myself included, and very few who find it “catchy”. I think its called doggerel verse in the writing trade. It could have been written by an 11 year old, in which case I would applaud it, but its not, its just annoying and bloody awful…….

    • Ben on 20/04/2014 at 5:30 pm

      Agreed it is terrible songwriting. It could have been written by an 11 year old, but maybe that was the approach they were going for. I don’t for one minute believe they intended it to be a good pop song. And although it is annoying, the fact that people like yourself are still thinking about it weeks after it was first shown is why I would refer to it as catchy.

  3. on 10/05/2014 at 11:15 am

    This is the most disgustingly upsetting advert of recent times. Where BT have found the temerity to approach us in this hippy dippy well-meaning fiends type of way, when we all know they are absolute money grabbing arse-munchers is beyond me.

    Shouldn’t their approach be more along the lines of, ‘we know we royally rip you off at every turn, and will continue to do so where ever possible, but please still have a look at our new idea as it may have some merits?’

    They seem to think the UK population will fall for that imported west coast American crap. Hippy culture and capitalism in its rawest form just don’t mix on an ideological level, so please BT, don’t insult our intelligence with this horse manure.

  4. selsdonunite on 13/05/2014 at 11:24 am

    Disgusting advert, I’ve kicked two radios and an HD Ready TV to death so far. I might need a no win no fee lawyer.

  5. Mark Foster on 31/05/2014 at 5:21 pm

    Have to agree with other comments here, this is probably one of the adverts that annoys me the most. It’s a perfect combination of two abysmally overdone cliches and bad execution:

    1. The combination of a “jingly acoustic guitar/ukulele” with “witty” spoken word lyrics – as made popular by’s infamous train station advert. Ripping something off is bad enough, but when the source material is already one of the worst cultural crimes of the century (as that advert is) you’re in danger of crossing into a new dimension of irritating.

    2. The late-2000s trend of trying painfully hard to appear “random” by inserting knowingly silly lines into a song. If people want to go down the surreal comedy road then it has to be genuinely imaginative, otherwise it just comes across as a lame gimmick. The Mighty Boosh finished seven years ago, it’s not clever anymore.

    I’m aware that advertising is an industry where thinking outside the box is rarely rewarded, but at least put some thought into making it semi-original. Relentlessly hammering already irritating cliches (and doing them even worse than the originals) is the recipe for a truly appalling advert. I’ll give a free pass to the person who did the animation, the rest of them should be taken away and forced to watch their terrible creation on a loop until their ears bleed.

  6. Peter on 19/10/2014 at 10:28 am

    I hate this advert, they play it on Talksport as well, and it’s not particularly the sons lyrics that annoy me it’s the bloke singing it. He just has a really annoying voice, I don’t know why they chose this person.

  7. Dave on 20/11/2014 at 11:36 am

    I think you’ve got the wrong Colin Smith – the voice of the guy in the video you’ve posted doesn’t sound much like the one on the advert.

  8. chris on 31/01/2015 at 12:27 am

    fuck off

  9. topboy on 11/02/2015 at 11:24 pm

    Its a load if bollocks…I hate the song I hate the advert…the lyrics are as if my 1 year old had wrote It…and even then as a 1 year old he would be to mature.. Utter shite

  10. topboy on 11/02/2015 at 11:25 pm

    He’s a cunt

  11. Richy on 08/10/2015 at 9:59 am

    Horrific ad, contrived, made for people who like to describe themselves as quirky and different but are in fact dull and vapid. I remember Charlie Brooker gave a pretty good review on an episode Newswipe.

  12. Jay Mishka on 20/10/2015 at 5:49 am

    No, don’t introduce youself. Ben and Mike.

  13. Tim on 04/02/2016 at 9:06 pm

    Good Sweet Lord on a Tandem! You are surely teasing us? It’s a vile and shocking pile of steaming ugly dung. You are, as someone wisely commented earlier, on crystal meth. Or you work for an offshore registered hedge fund.


  14. david turner on 21/01/2017 at 7:59 pm

    This has to be the singular most irritating ad on tv at the moment.especially on certain sky channels that repeat the same batch of ads on every ad break that morning/afternoon/evening.get some decent marketing n turn out a good ad,if only for those of us who watch the channels its played on.instead of spending 50p just to piss us all off!!!!!!

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