Our latest On Brief project promotes the joys of sleeping under the stars. In partnership with Facebook, we commissioned Cheltenham-based creative Oliver Sin to produce a series of playful animations encouraging people to sign up to wild camping trips organised by Yes Tribe.
Yes Tribe was founded by graphic designer and travel writer Dave Cornthwaite in 2015. Inspired by the kindness of strangers he met on his trips, Cornthwaite set out to find new ways of meeting people back home in London. What started with a one-night camp organised via Facebook has grown into a community group with more than 15,000 members around the world.
Yes Tribe now hosts a wealth of events in the UK and abroad, from festivals to cycles and socials. Most of these events take place in rural locations (the group owns seven acres of countryside in West Sussex, along with a double decker bus which can host workshops and retreats), and all are aimed at bringing people together.
Each summer, it runs a series of wild camping events through its Wake Up Wild initiative – which encourages people to get out of the city and make friends in the great outdoors. Keen to promote Wake up Wild to a wider audience, Facebook and Yes Tribe came up with a brief to create a 15-second animation that would catch the attention of ‘urban adventurers’– the kind of city workers who would rather spend a Friday afternoon in a field than stuck at their desk with a supermarket meal deal.
As Sammy King, Creative Agency Partner at Facebook, explains, the animation needed to convey three key messages: the fact that getting outside is good for your mental health; that signing up to the event is easy (once people register, they are sent a camping kit and details of where and when to meet) and that Wake Up Wild offers the chance to experience something new. “Once we had these, we could crack on with briefing Oliver and crafting the animation,” he says.
Facebook then worked with Yes Tribe to plot out a rough concept for a 15-second animation, which could be split into three shorter pieces of content. Sin put together a storyboard showing how each frame would be composed, and how scenes would transition, before creating an outline version of the animation in Illustrator and experimenting with different colour palettes. “I tend to animate a rough first draft to begin with before fleshing out with secondary motion and texturing,” he explains.
The result is a playful set of animations that show explorers stepping off the tube and into the wild. The creative reflects Sin’s distinctive style, and the rich colours and textures aim to capture the beauty of the British countryside.
Oliver Sin created a 15-second animation for Yes Tribe, which highlights the benefits of its Wake Up Wild camping events
“I’ve been building a style the past few years that I could be recognised for, so I wanted to bring it into this campaign as well,” explains Sin.
“The colours are very much inspired by the very thing the campaign is all about: nature. Blending in the different greens then throwing in some brighter vibrant oranges and yellows really gives that extra punch and emphasis on characters.”
This was Sin’s first animation created specifically for Facebook and Instagram Stories: “A lot of my work would be for much longer videos so it was great to work on a shorter and more concise short,” he says. As well as a much snappier style of storytelling, the project required him to think carefully about framing and composition to ensure that the key messages could be communicated in just a few seconds.
Sin also created three shorter, five-second animations, which each focused on a different benefit of campaign (shown above and below)
“Composition and framing was a big part of my thought process when I was designing the scenes. The main focus – the character and tent – had to be central so our sight was fixed on them, as they were the main subject,” he explains. “The trickiest part was nailing the pacing so it wasn’t too rushed, otherwise no one would be able to have time to digest what was going on, so I opted for snappier transitions that didn’t linger too long between each frame.
The animations will be rolled out on Facebook and Instagram, and Cornthwaite hopes they will encourage more people to sign up to Yes Tribe’s events – or embark on camping trips of their own.
It’s the first time Yes Tribe has commissioned an external creative to produce visual content for Facebook and Instagram. It’s also the first time it has experimented with animation – though Cornthwaite says it’s something the group plans to work with more in future.
While Yes Tribe has a creative team, Cornthwaite says he was interested in working with someone who could bring a fresh new look to the group’s campaigns. “It’s easy to get stuck in your own bubble, however interesting the project may be. On Brief sounded like a great way to add a new element to the way we market our wild camps,” he says.
“We looked at a variety of artists and they were all great, and chose Oliver because his work had a wonderful affinity with nature. It felt right!”
Reflecting on what they’ve learned from the project, Cornthwaite believes it’s vital to give creatives freedom to express their vision while Sin recommends thinking carefully about how creative can be tailored to suit mobile environments. King believes it’s important to create eye-catching visuals that stand out, but also to ensure that you aren’t wasting time and losing people’s interest by failing to get straight to the point.
“It’s important to keep a fast tempo, to catch people’s attention and to deliver your message quickly,” he says. “If we think of the reasons why people spend time on Facebook or Instagram – inspiration, connection, discovery – animation sits perfectly in this space. It can take you to amazing, eye-catching and magnificent places that can offer you a break from reality (or fill that few seconds you have until the kettle finishes boiling). But bear in mind the way in which people watch stuff here. There’s no guarantee that people are going to be watching anything you make till the end, so how you fish for their attention from the very start is critical.”
Key to the campaign was establishing the key messages that Yes Tribe wanted to get across before putting together a brief – and finding someone who could communicate those messages through imaginative visuals that would make people stop and take notice.
“People scroll through their Feeds and tap through their Stories at a rate of knots, in an environment where everything competes with everything. Standing out and getting noticed is of the utmost importance. With Oliver’s bold, eye-catching and thumb-stopping style, we were confident that our creative was able to do that, however we still needed to be clever with how we constructed the ad,” adds King.
On Brief is part of Inspire, a partnership between Creative Review, Facebook and Instagram to showcase outstanding creative work on both platforms. Creatives are paid for their involvement in On Brief. For more content from Inspire, see creativereview.co.uk/inspire