Intu’s ‘Guide to Christmassing’ is an exercise in the crafts of puppetry and animation
Shopping centre brand Intu has released the ‘Guide to Christmassing’, an ad that, for the second year, eschews the impressive CGI used by certain other retailers in favour of the traditional crafts of puppetry and animation.
The film is an assemblage of scenes featuring festive fowls such as a peacock and an owl, all set on one revolving turntable. Comedian Matt Lucas narrates the scenarios as the anthropomorphic birds prepare for 25 December in their own unique ways, with each avian character representing a different sort of shopper.
The birds were maneuvered by specialist puppeteers that have performed in the likes of War Horse and Henson. The film was produced by Blinkink and devised by agency Now.
Remco Graham, executive creative director and partner at Now, wanted the turntable motif to achieve the handcrafted feel of a “theatre set crossed with the magic of film” – a challenge handed to Blinkink director Joe Mann.
“The idea was made all the more challenging by having the sets spinning,” Mann explained. “To make each scene work we had to rig all the lighting to turn in time with the set. So choreographing this along with the puppets and their puppeteers was the main a challenge.
“Occasionally the turn table, which seemed to have a mind of its own, would start spinning really fast and on one occasion sent a puppeteer flying off the side. On other occasions it decided to move very, very slowly.”
The final film was designed to showcase Intu’s role in the run up to Christmas, rather than on the day itself. Graham was also adamant that he didn’t want it to look like “every other bloody Christmas advert”.
“It’s a deliberately different take on the usual Christmas schmaltz,” he said.
The campaign launches during The X Factor on 5 November. The media was planned by Blue 449, and comprises video on demand, radio, out of home, digital, social and print activity.