Cotswolds Distillery

Drinks Advertising


Drinks Advertising

The Brief

We pride ourselves on being able to create work for any sector. But drinks advertising isn’t something we’ve made a huge amount of. Our client, Cotswolds Distillery was initially set up to make whisky. However, to make whisky you need time and money. So they started making gin too. When the Coronavirus outbreak began to take hold and restaurants, bars and hotels  the distillery decided that now was the time to sharpen their skills in online advertising direct to the consumer.

Our brief was to shoot some online adverts for them.

During a period when it was pretty hard to shoot adverts.

The Approach

We spoke to the owner Dan at length about the history of the brand. But we also discussed the sensibility of the brand too. Gin has seen a huge renaissance in recent years, a ‘ginaissance’ if you will (sorry). There are plenty of new and interesting flavours on the market and Britain is a nation of gin drinkers.  But gin advertising has really tended towards the quaint and safe. Fortunately, the people of the Cotswolds, and the distillery have a wry sense of humour and they were open to our slightly anarchic approach.

The three films were variations on the same creative. They were different enough to be interesting. But also similar enough to be clearly from the same drinks advertising campaign. As online video was a new area for the distillery this was a test for them. So we were asked to see what results could be achieved from a relatively modest budget.


These three films were shot in our studio in Birmingham. We had a crew of two. Lee Kemp was Creative Director, Copywriter, Producer, Director, First AD, Set Dresser and Catering. James Barnett was the Director of Photography, camera department, focus puller, grip and dolly grip.

If you read our post on Coronavirus prep you’ll see that we were ahead of the curve so we had good PPE for the duration of the shoot.

We’d be genuinely proud of these films if we’d made them under normal circumstances. But having come up with something that the client loves and has been so well received under the current conditions is a source of great pride for us.

We got  the call from Dan to go ahead at about lunchtime on Wednesday 8th April. We shot on Thursday 9th April. Post production on Friday 10th. The first film was live on Saturday 11th April.


Over this period we saw quite a few brands reacting very quickly to push something out. The results were predictable and repetitive. So much so that someone found the time to produce a mock video of all of them. In light of that, we’re even more proud to have done creative work, under difficult circumstances that the client loves.

“Vermillion had us at hello.  They completely understood what we were looking for, and in record time they managed to conceive, create and deliver a series of topical and relevant adverts which struck the exact tone we were hoping for (actually far better than we could have hoped for).  Years from now we’ll look back and say ‘we met the film producer of our dreams during lockdown’ – we are counting on a long and mutually beneficial relationship with them in the months and years ahead.”

Daniel Szor, Founder, Cotswolds Distillery

The Result

The campaign is ongoing  but there were over 10,000 organic views in the first week. We’ll update when we have more. But we also got some attention on Ads of the World, which is always lovely. And when we uploaded the project to CreativePool they liked it so much they highlighted the work on their homepage.

Creative Pool
Drinks Industry Success

Javelin Block

Property Video

Holy Ground

The Brief

The brief for this property video was dreamily simple, Stuart Holt, Principal of Javelin Block told us ‘you know what we do.  Make us something that fits us and fits the building’. As a company that’s immensely proud of our Birmingham roots and our work here, we were all in.

The RIBA Award winning company don’t describe themselves as property developers and they decry words such as luxury, superior and designer. They do use words such as reanimation, restoration and integrity and this was evident in their approach to this project.

Our brief was to create a film that celebrated the Cometworks building and its pending apotheosis from a decrepit and disused building to 20 beautiful and authentic loft-style apartments. 

Fun Fact: In the middle of the 18th Century Birmingham’s Gun Quarter was the foremost arms producer in the world.

The Approach

Property video as authentic as we could

Building on research provided by Javelin Block we developed a narrative informed by the  building itself and Birmingham, home of the industrial revolution. Built in 1831 it was originally a metal-pressing works. In the early 1900s it became a motorcycle factory and was home to the New Comet motorcycle which held the land speed record in 1914. It was re-purposed as a munitions factory in WW2 and had lain empty since the mid 80s. We’d never made a property video quite like this one.

In keeping with Javelin Block’s ethos we tracked down an original New Comet to feature in the film as well as genuine .303 calibre ammunition from the Second World War.

Ankle deep in pigeon poo and armed with one of the most comprehensive risk assessments we’ve ever done, the film was shot over two days using Lomo Anamorphic lenses to give an older, authentic feel to the film.

“We have always had an ethos within Javelin Block that meant we focused on growing organically without gimmicks and hollow marketing. So when Lee from Vermillion approached me about an idea for a short film about a restoration project I was about to start. My initial thoughts were absolutely no chance…..

However Lee and his passion and professionalism won me over so I left him to it.
What was produced absolutely blew me and all at Javelin Block away. We ended up sending it everywhere. It’s hard to quantify what impact the film had financially on the project, but I do know it was huge.”

Stuart Holt – Principal, Javelin Block

Winner: Best Promotional Programme
Royal Television Society 2017

The Result

The film was incredibly well received. The version you see here is, aside from one minor change, the first draft the client saw. As well as the RTS award mentioned above the film was one of three featured projects on The other two featured were directed by Spike Jonze and Guy Ritchie. The film was also a featured piece of work on several other sites that showcase creative work. 

We’re incredibly proud of this one.

If you’re looking for a property video like this, or much more mainstream, then click below.

Polar M400

Sports Film

polar m400 video

The Brief

This was the sports film we wanted to make. And not just because it’s shot in San Francisco! Polar is a global leader in heart rate monitoring devices for athletes and other sports people. As we were asked to produce a sports film that taps into their core audience of athletes and fitness enthusiasts, we wanted to create a sports film that celebrates the joy and freedom that a healthy lifestyle brings.

Fun Fact: The first heart rate monitor was invented by Polar in 1977 to support the Finnish cross country ski team.  And its now widely used in many sports globally.

The Approach

Although the brief had a new focus on health, wellness and lifestyle, this was the fifth sports film we have produced for Polar. So we have plenty of sport experience. Therefore it was a pleasure to settle in with a familiar executive team. However, we have developed a process for shooting in new countries with new crew that yields great results. With the cool, laidback vibe of San Francisco as the backdrop we worked with local crew for casting and location scouting. As always local regulations presented its own challenges but our flexible way of working meant we were able lock down the locations and cast and pull everything together in time for the shoot. So the easy flowing style of this kind of sports film lends itself to was achieved through good planning and large dollops of flexibility.

Director: Lee Kemp | Cinematography: Cliff Traiman | Agency CAA in London.

“I have worked with Lee and the Vermillion Team on several film productions around the world. I ordered several marketing videos from Vermillion Films to support the global launch of the Polar M400 sport watch. The Vermillion Team managed the entire process from the initial storyboarding right through to the final edit with great professionalism. They arranged the best cast, crew and locations in order to deliver outstanding results. As a result, and as a client I could totally trust them to hold all the threads while providing results with a real wow factor and staying within the agreed budget. Lee’s lively and friendly persona made working together even more fun!”

Salla Rahja – Visual Communications Planner, Polar

The Result

This sports film, centred on health and wellness, was used as the centrepiece of the global product launch for the M400 watch with localised versions passed to a number of markets. The film achieved several hundred thousand organic views in its first few months.