Why we're loving: Debbie McClellan, vice-president, The Muppets Studio

McClellan worked with WCRS on the new Warburtons ad, "The Giant Crumpet Show". She is also the executive producer of the Sky TV series The Muppets.

Why we're loving: Debbie McClellan, vice-president, The Muppets Studio

Tell us about the Warburtons project. Warburtons approached us about a Christmas spot. They had these wonderfully grand ideas. At first, we were a little wary because Muppet productions require special preparation to pull off. But then they showed us the previous epic starring Sylvester Stallone. Wow! 

Talk us through the production process. Special sets have to be built (usually about four to five feet off the ground so that performers can move around easily). Then there’s the logistics of having that many Muppets on screen at the same time. If you think things are crazy on screen, you should see what is happening below.  

How long did the ad take to film? We shot everything in three days. It helped to have Kirk Thatcher, who has directed Muppet movies before, working alongside the director Declan Lowney. In a way, we’re like a theatrical ensemble that has worked together for a long time. We are very efficient in our chaos.

How much input did you have into the ad? Our creative team went back and forth with Warburtons and WCRS to make sure every moment had maximum Muppet-like quirkiness. Warburtons and WCRS got it right away.

How do you choose which companies The Muppets promote? You have to make sure the company makes sense for the brand. Then make sure The Muppets will remain true to their character. Miss Piggy has to have her diva moment. Kermit the Frog has to keep things from getting too crazy. Fozzie Bear has to be funny… or at least try to be funny.  

How do you ensure you have character consistency? We have a core creative team that makes sure the characters are true to themselves. Also, each of our characters is performed by one person who either created or has performed that character for years.  

How many versions of each puppet get used in the ad? With the core characters – Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie and Animal – we have more than one puppet and have doubles of their classic outfits. But with background characters, there is usually only one of a kind.  

The world is still reeling from Kermit and Miss Piggy’s split. Why did you decide to make it public? That wasn’t our choice. Miss Piggy was the one who decided to go public. Trust me – when she wants something done, it gets done!