Background to the brief
Cedar is a creative and commercial content marketing agency. They produce multi-channel campaigns and “credible, audience-centric” content for brands, including Tesco. They recognise the power of video to deliver useful and valuable content that engages audiences on social media.
They liked the stop-motion approach we took for FIFA’s World Cup ‘Elements’ TV advertising campaign, so they came to us with a question…
YOU’VE GOT AN AUDIENCE – DON’T LET THEM DOWN.
Our task was to take one sentence ideas for ‘hacks’ and expand them into 15 and 30 second ‘mini-stories’ long enough to explain the ‘hack’ but also entertaining, warm and amusing in their own right.
A Different Challenge
We also had to do this at scale. Whereas the three FIFA ‘Elements’ films were dependent on solid strategic rationale, took 2 months to write then 3 months to make and were geared to a budget appropriate for a global TV advertising campaign, this stop-motion project was very different but just as challenging. We needed to plan, make and release 12 films on a weekly basis. on a fraction of the budget and keeping to a strict ‘content calendar’ determined schedule.
Swift time-frames + tight budget = precise planning
Stop-motion is a carefully controlled aesthetic.
We proposed 3 x creative routes and supplied moodboards ahead of storyboarding.
Storyboarding was very detailed. It was vital that we test each idea so that we could progress to production with confidence.
Attention to detail is everything and the contribution of each member of the 6 person crew was vital:
Gluing, pasting and sewing the physical construction of the sets and props.
Supplier-specific prop sourcing and on-set styling.
- Anticipating and trouble-shooting camera and lighting technical set-ups.
We used the same Dragonframe software and kit used by feature-filmmakers, hooked up to the camera in a way that allows you to toggle between a live view and the previous frame. Blue-tack had a large part to play too.
There were moments where the idea or the narrative bears fruit in unexpected ways. Who knew our crab would portray a thief so convincingly?
There were moments where a virtue came about because of a setback.
In ‘Cupcakes’ there was no way we could hide the wires needed to hold the bugs in the air.so we left them in.and it looks great. There’s no need to ‘fake’ anything. Stop-motion is charming and effective because it is hand-crafted and ‘non-digital’.
And there were moments where something comes from completely leftfield but works brilliantly – such as the seagull that enters the frame and gets all ‘beaky’ with the drinks.
We tried to find every opportunity and every creative shortcut possible. From cling-film to animate a trickle of water to a ring of white paper for a glass filling with milk.
Music was vital in setting the tone. Briefs ranged from “plinky-plonky” to “bright and breezy’ and “50s surf” to “slightly spooky”.
There were less obvious additions too e.g. where the movement of the props or a choice moment to switch background colour or introduce depth of field really ‘sold’ the idea in an utterly convincing way.
Wherever we could we endeavoured to up the warmth and add in charm.
Cedar labelled the films as “ingenious” and the numbers speak for themselves.