Vodafone Dreams of Formula One in Stars

Vodafone UK is seeding the imagination of would-be Formula One drivers with a television advertising campaign, picking up on the imaginative space dreams of children and the adrenaline of the race track. “When we’re young we all have dreams of speed, excitement and adrenaline. But we grow up become and sensible. And, you know, somehow those dreams never quite happen. And a dream can only become reality if you chase it and chase it and chase it. Vodafone – make the most of now.”

Face of a boy in Vodafone Stars advert

Seven rockets set off from a plasticine Earth, each manned by a child. As they journey through space, one by one the spacecraft fall by the wayside or are diverted from their path, but our hero’s craft stays the course, transforming itself at the end into the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes being driven by various team members, including Lewis Hamilton.

Click on the image below to play the video.

The TV advert is supplemented by an online site, www.vodafone-racing.com, in which viewers interact with the go-kart to Formula 1 journeys of Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and his peers. The site, powered by Google Earth, provides visualizations of race tracks used by the two drivers.

Lewis Hamilton in Vodafone Stars advert


The ‘Stars’ advert was developed at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London, by creatives Glenn Gibbins, David Chalu and Nick Gill, with agency producer Nerine Soper.

Filming was directed by Dom & Nic, via Outsider with producer John Madsen and directors of photography John Lynch and Tat Radcliffe.

Editing was done by Struan Clay at Final Cut, London.

Visual effects were developed at Framestore, London, by VFX supervisor/Inferno artist/Flame artist Ben Cronin, Inferno artists Chris Redding and William Bartlett, with production designer and art director Chris Oddy.

Spaceships in Stars advert

VFX Supervisor and Inferno Artist Ben Cronin made sure that infinite space was brought in for a finite budget, whilst making sure that the spot maintained just the right balance of wonder, humour and dazzle to make it work. The entire spot was pre-vizzed in Inferno, and all sorts of digital techniques were used to create a universe that seemed simultaneously infinite and contained inside a child’s imagination. To get a moon that felt just right, Cronin bought a pack of Leerdammer cheese, sampling the texture to obtain the “perfect imperfection”, as he puts it, of the real thing. The rings of Saturn were formed by concentric rings of digitally sampled sweets and candies, with Cronin’s colleague William Bartlett helping out with a particle system that could be applied to the hundreds of sticky objects.