Wallace & Gromit Get Smart for npower

Fans of Oscar-nominated Wallace and Gromit are to be treated to another dose of the favourite duo as they appear in npower’s new TV advert.

Press Release from npower

LONDON 19 March: Fans of Oscar-nominated Wallace and Gromit are to be treated to another dose of the favourite duo as they appear in npower’s new TV advert. The nation’s favourite animated characters are up to their usual ‘inventive’ mischief in delivering npower’s message of sensible energy consumption in the home. The loveable duo soon learns a valuable lesson in monitoring energy, as they curb their excessive consumption.

The new advertising campaign created by VCCP for npower is in a 30 and a 40 second format and breaks on 1 April across national television.

The 30 second advert opens in a darkened room where Wallace is in a state of panic. Hidden behind a cushion he watches a horror movie on his latest invention, a homemade widescreen TV. Wallace's widescreen TV defies convention, consisting of multiple TV’s cobbled together.

However, a scary movie is not the only thing poor Wallace has to worry about when the penny finally drops that his stack of TV’s has in fact become an energy consuming monster.

Luckily, the savvier Gromit saves the day when he receives advice from customer care advisor Penny on how to cut energy consumption.

Our heroine informs Gromit about npower’s smartpower electricity monitor, which allows customers to keep an eye on how much energy is being eaten up by all household appliances.

The 40 second advert actually shows the viewers what movie is scaring the life out of Wallace – Revenge of the Killer Watts - as well as having an additional scene of Gromit creeping up on Wallace and passing family photographs of Frankenwallace and Dracuwallace along the way.  The end of the advert cuts straight back to the ominous pile of televisions ‘sparking’ to life.

Making the Smartpower campaign advert – Fun Facts* The commercial took four weeks to shoot

* This is the first time Aardman has animated the new Penny character – who is a call centre operator for npower

* The material on TV was added after the character animation in the post production stage although it was shot at the same time as the rest of the commercial. It features a haunted house built from foam core, an animatable door that slams open in the “we’ve created a monster” shot, and extra gravestones and trees for the foreground

* The flying bats in the opening shots were produced by one of Aardman’s 2D artists and were then added to the TV footage

* The first shot of Wallace & Gromit watching the TV was created using 10 layers or plates, which were then combined in post production to create the finished sequence. The plates included the character animation pass plus various plates for different elements, the lamp in the foreground (which features sheep as a reference to the previous npower commercial “Insheepsulation”), and various lighting plates to create flicker from the TVs

* The smart energy monitor was designed to make it fit into Wallace & Gromit’s world. The real monitor looks very modern so we had to “Wallace-ify” it by making it look metallic with rivets.

* Aardman used 31 TV’s in the commercial that took a day to rig into position. Some of them had miniature lights built into them which helped them look more like working televisions

* Gromit’s shadow as he walks toward Wallace with the smart energy monitor is in homage to Nosferatu

* Wallace is a bit soft when it comes to horror movies

* In preparation for the shoot Wallace was given a full makeover - his trousers were fixed, his tank-top repainted and he was also given clean teeth and new eyes. Gromit was also given a new nose and eyes

* The commercial is the first to feature the new npower logo

The new Wallace & Gromit advert is part of the energy supplier’s smartpower campaign to help customers monitor and reduce energy consumption in the home with the offer of FREE smartpower electricity monitors when existing and new customers sign up to an online account. Kevin Peake, marketing director at npower, commented: “We’re all guilty of being like Wallace and Gromit wasting too much energy in the home, but we want to show that there are ways where we can help our customers save energy and money.   “smartpower electricity monitors are a great tool for customers to quantify how they use energy in the home and Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit really bring this message to life.” The advert is part of an exclusive npower series of animations created by Aardman Animations and VCCP.  

Sean Clarke, Head of Aardman Rights said: “Wallace and Gromit lend themselves perfectly to dispelling the myths around energy efficiency in the entertaining way they are famous for.”

To find out more about the campaign visit www.npower.com/wallacescreen.  

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Rick DeMott
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