BRISTOL, ENGLAND - January 24, 2011 - Aardman Animations (www.aardman.com) and Swedbank (http://www.swedbank.com) have launched a brand new television advertising campaign directed by Steve Harding-Hill with Lowe Brindfors and Colony, Sweden. The Swedish banks first brand ad, 'Under the Oak Tree', traces the history of Swedbank since 1820 by following the stories of two characters, a humble Squirrel, who plants an acorn and then faithfully watches his investment grow. And a noisy Duck who spends his money as quickly as he gets it.
The epic story encompasses the changes in the world at 4 different times through the last 190 years and also takes us through the 4 seasons from Winterto Autumn.
Each set and character had to be redressed four times to tell the story, it was an exciting challenge for Aardman to be able to create a film with the physical scale and detail that matched the epic quality of the story being told.
Aardman's approach to the character design was to make the characters detailed and expressive, rather than simple and cute. While the animal characters are human in their stance and their personalities, their features are naturalistic and detailed. The puppets were covered in authentic looking fur and a traditional flocking technique was used to add realism. The environment that was created by the team of scenic artists, set builders and prop makers is similary highly detailed and textured. The scale was created by the using layered sets, digital photography and cinematic lighting created a depth of field, creating the sweeping wide vistas seen in the ad. This was combined with detailed vignettes of other environments like ponds, hill tops and roads which make the Swedbank world even more rich and full of life.
Using refreshingly traditional methods Aardman shot all the animation 'in camera', making the 50 second ad feel organic and charming. Only a few subtle post effects were added at the end of the process.
Commercials Director Steve Harding-Hill had the challenge of bringing the Swedbank story to life. "I loved working on the production because I'd never done a job to such a massive scale where I'd been given so much creative input. To turn such a large job round in such little amount of time was both scary and thrilling!" says Harding-Hill.
About AardmanAardman, based in Bristol (UK) co-founded and run by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, is a world leader in animation. It produces feature films, television series and television commercials for both the domestic and international market. The studio has won over 400 international awards including 4 Oscars.
Aardman's multi-award winning productions are novel, entertaining, brilliantly characterised and full of charm that reflects the unique talent, energy and personal commitment of the very special people who make up the Aardman team. The studio¹s work is often imitated and yet the company continues to lead the field producing a rare brand of visually stunning and amusing independent and commercial productions.