BBC The Square Eyed Boy

BBC’s new ad weighs in on the debate around children’s screen time

Directed by Sam Gainsborough, the playful stop-motion spot gives new meaning to the adage that too much screen time will give you square eyes

Most people who have grown up with the internet will be familiar with the urban myth that spending too much time in front of a screen will give you square eyes. The reality though, is a little more nuanced. A 2021 report by We Are Pi and, for example, showed how screens can in fact be for beneficial for children’s development.

Directed by Sam Gainsborough, the Square Eyed Boy is a new campaign from the BBC that weighs in on the screen time debate, reassuring parents that screens, when used responsibly, can be a powerful tool for their children.

The 60-second stop-motion spot introduces us to a young boy whose eyes have been transformed into squares due to his use of screens. As the story unfolds, it shows how screen time (and particularly BBC’s content) can aid learning, expressing ideas and developing communication skills.

Following his claymation and stop motion spots for the Centre for Early Childhood and B&Q, Gainsborough’s playful approach to the Square Eyed Boy weaves together a thought-provoking narrative with puppetry and stop motion animation.

BBC The Square Eyed Boy

The campaign is based on new research commissioned by BBC Children’s and Education, which found that while 67% parents feel concerned about what their child is watching, parents do see real value in screens, with 65% agreeing they have the ability to foster creativity and communication.

The campaign film is a part of a larger campaign that spans out of home advertising, social, and editorial content across the BBC.

BBC The Square Eyed Boy

Agency: BBC Creative
Executive Creative Director: Rasmus Smith Bech
Creative Directors: Mark Slack, Becca Pottinger
Creatives: Shannon Cripps, Beth Wood
Senior Designers: Walter Hutton, Veronica Law, Darren Wagstaff
Motion Designers: Charlotte Temple, Sin Yee Hau
Production Company: Blinkink
Director: Sam Gainsborough
Director of Photography: Ronnie McQuillan
Producer: Rebecca Little
Stop Motion Animators: Andy Biddle, Tobias Fouracre
Head of Model Making: Sam Holland
Art Director: Gordon Allen
VFX Supervisor & Lead Compositor: Stephen McNally