Stop motion sells Tesco’s back-to-school range

Award-winning animation director Juan Pablo Zaramella and producer Alan Dewhurst have created a quirky animated TV ad for Tesco F&F’s back-to-school range of clothes

Award-winning animation director Juan Pablo Zaramella and producer Alan Dewhurst have created a quirky animated TV ad for Tesco F&F’s back-to-school range of clothes.

The ad was put together through stop-motion animation and the team also decided to use pixilation (the technique of animating real people) to “combine the real image with the fantastic world of animation”, according to Zaramella.

“Pixilation offers an intriguing combination of reality and fantasy, spontaneity and control, so it has aspects of both live action and animation,” adds Dewhurst. “We worked hard to make the commercial as a tiny episodic film, in which each scene is driven by a character, and has an introduction, a central purpose, and a resolution – and to make the images, music and sound as expressive as possible.”

Commissioned through agency WARL, the campaign shows a series of everyday scenarios in a kid’s life (such as dancing, playing football and so on), filtered through their animated imagination. The team is also producing a 10-second sponsorship ident that uses imagery from the TV spot, also animated in a simple way.

The commercial was shot over one week, with background props of pencils, fabrics, paints and other stationery mocked up to larger scale. Performers were shot lying down, with the camera fixed seven metres above them.

One of the main challenges was keeping the kid actors entertained and switched on through the laborious animation process (see below for behind-the-scenes video). “It was fascinating to see some kids ‘get it’ and really enter into the spirit of this very unnatural process, while others fidgeted and had little interest in what they were doing,” says Dewhurst. “There’s a degree of alchemy in it, as with all animation – appearing spontaneous while working painstakingly, one frame at a time.”

The ad is a 30-second commercial, that like any other consists of 750 frames, as Dewhurst points out. “However each frame has been composited from multiple layers of imagery that were shot or post-produced one image at a time”, he adds, with more than 5,000 images used in the entire commercial. “All in all this was a considerable visual effects project, as well as an elaborate animation process.”

Agency: WARL
Production company: HANraHAN
Animation company: Can Can Club
Director: Juan Pablo Zaramella
Art director: Lena Blaschek
Project manager: Elizabeth Gillingham
Producer: Alan Dewhurst
Animation producer: Anuk Torre Obeid
Animation Director: Becho Lo Bianco
Animation art directors: Diego Berakha, Maria Victoria Lamas
Director of photography: Sergia Pineyro
Making of: Tota Romero

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