How Ancestry made audiences reconsider their own Britishness

Droga5 London explains how the genealogy company's Brexit themed ad isn't a "conversation you've already heard".

Ancestry's "Together forever" ad bridges commonalities between Britain and their European neighbours with a richly diverse cast.

Droga5’s senior creative, Dan Morris, said: "Casting was definitely at the forefront of everyone’s mind about how to portray this realistically".

The ad showcases individuals from European countries serenading post-Brexit Britain with a cover of Rick Astley’s hit Together Forever. The film ends with Ancestry’s research claiming that the average British person’s DNA is 60% European.

Charlene Chandrasekaran, a senior creative at Droga5, said: "We didn’t want it to be a conversation you’ve already heard; we all hear our own opinions on this side of the Channel. What made it really interesting was what would people be saying on the other side of the Channel". 

Brexit may be seen as a risky topic for an advertiser. Morris said: "It’s an expensive test to do. [Ancestry] realised that already it’s going to put off a certain amount of people. So they said let's go for it".

The ad has sparked debate across social media. Chandrasekaran said: "People have reacted how we’d imagine they’d react… I don’t think we’ve created an ad with so much consumer talking"; 

Droga5’s chief creative officer, David Kolbusz, said: "My advice to clients to make more brave work is to start buying more brave work. People like to be entertained and I think the best thing we can do as practitioners of the advertising art is to create content that rivals the stuff that is out in the world that people pay to enjoy". 

"Together forever" is being shown on TV and online.