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Creative Director’s Choice: 23red’s Sean Kinmont on the Born Free Foundation's conservation film


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

November 7, 2019 | 4 min read

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the best works around and to spotlight campaigns that are making a difference.

The Bitter Bond

The Bitter Bond for the Born Free Foundation

This week, Sean Kinmont, creative director and co-founder at 23red, talks about the “emotive triggers” in Engine’s film for the Born Free Foundation.

Sean Kinmont

An advantage of working in a creative industry is that it sometimes gives us the chance to direct our creativity towards telling stories around important issues that might not normally get the airplay they deserve.

A fine example of this is Engine’s beautifully crafted new film for the Born Free Foundation.

We see an adorable lion cub born on a farm in Africa, nurtured by its keeper, cuddled by visitors and becoming a hero of their Instagram selfies.

The cub grows into a majestic lion and is released onto the Savannah to roam free. So far, so good. However, this idyllic circle of life is brought to an abrupt and shocking end when the keeper returns to the lion and fatally lures him into the range of a hunter’s rifle.

The animated film cleverly uses misdirection by falsely painting a loving connection between cub and keeper, accompanied by the swelling music of the academy award-winning song, ‘Born Free’, from the film of the same name. It also uses clear visual references to the recently re-released Lion King film. All these emotive triggers set you up for a tumble when the lion is shot dead.

I’m South African born and, while able to appreciate the great beauty of the country, I’m also aware of its many problems. But something I had not heard of was this practice of ‘canned hunting’ where lions are bred into captivity and raised to become familiar and trusting of people as they are offered to be petted by tourists. They are then released into the wild where this trust makes them easy prey to the hunters.

I applaud Engine and its creative partners for investing its time and energy into creating impactful work that highlights this despicable practice.

The animation is beautifully rendered in 3D in collaboration with Zombie Studios and Blinkink.

Sean Kinmont is creative director and co-founder at 23red in London.

See the work by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien.

Born Free: The Bitter Bond by Engine

By Born Free

Overall Rating 5/5

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