Whatever You Call It
For many people death is an uncomfortable topic, so we teamed up with charity Marie Curie and Saatchi&Saatchi to create a campaign with a catchy tune and googly eyes aimed at encouraging people to start a conversation.
The aim of this campaign was to highlight the way people use euphemisms to talk about a very difficult subject, the ‘D-word’. Marie Curie is a charity that specialises in caring for people with a terminal illness and S&S approached us to help them tackle head-on unwillingness to have a real conversation about it.
At the beginning of production, we were faced with an important conceptual crossroad that would fundamentally change the way the film is read. After sketching some ideas for the euphemisms and working on some supporting character designs, we decided together with S&S that the closer to everyday objects or situations the visuals were, the funnier they became in this context. This meant staying away from anything anthropomorphised, i.e. a pencil with arms and legs, and go with something more like a stick of butter with some eyes stuck on it.
The impact of this allowed the wit and humour of each of the euphemisms to land swiftly rather than the viewer questioning what or where these animated characters were. By adding googly eyes, the inanimate objects transformed from everyday things to goofy, unlucky characters stuck within a relatable world.
Creating realistic and believable textures and effects for each concept we then ran into the problem of how to make the film visually distinctive rather than becoming too photo-real. We then began to employ tight camera crops of objects, allowing us to play with bright bold colours for backgrounds and blending these with believable textures and real-world lighting. This created the cheery death-odyssey that starkly contrasts with the serious subject matter of the film.