Rhyl-based balloon artists Mike and Sara Harris (For Every Occasion) have spent the last 24hrs in the eye of a media storm after the balloon sculptures they supplied for Ant McPartlin’s 45th birthday went viral after being posted on the @antanddec Instagram account, which has 4.2million followers.
Delighted that the pair’s reaction to the balloons had been captured and shared online, Mike posted the video of Ant’s birthday surprise to the business Facebook page, revealing that he and Sara had the honour of being asked to create the designs.
The story was soon picked up by the media and – complete with pictures of the balloons – has now appeared in national outlets The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Mirror as well as a number of local and regional media, both in print and online.
Ant is currently co-hosting I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, which is being filmed at Gwrych Castle in Abergele, Wales.
“I can see the castle from my window,” laughed Mike, “so when we had a call from a producer at ITV asking for some birthday balloons we knew it was for someone there. My wife is a big fan of the show and knew Ant’s birthday was coming up so we asked if it was for him. They couldn’t confirm it, but said it would need to be something a bit special.”
Mike and Sara were given a budget to work within but then had free rein with the final design, so they were able to be a bit creative, creating impressively recognisable sculptures of both Ant and his co-host Declan Donnelly.
“We delivered the balloons to the car park of the castle – it’s very secure and we couldn’t go any closer than that,” Mike said, “so we didn’t think we’d get to see Ant’s reaction at all. When we saw it had been posted on Instagram we were over the moon!”
The pair made the most of the impromptu publictity and after sharing the video on their own social media channels were quickly subject to a number of phone calls from the local and national media.
“It has been a complete media storm,” said Mike. “We have made the most of it going viral as it was such a valuable marketing opportunity. Everything else just had to stop, we were getting so much feedback! It was great fun and we definitely got the wow factor we were going for.”
Mike also praised ITV’s support of local businesses while based in North Wales for this year, while also thanking Phileas Flash for his training DVD ‘The face of things to come’.
“It was that course – it’s from years ago now – that taught me how to really do faces and the difference that subtle changes can make,” he said. “It just goes to show the vaulue of investing in training!”