UK retail chain John Lewis has launched “The Bear and The Hare”, the 2013 Christmas commercial. The animated TV advert featuring a hare who longs to find a way to bring Christmas to his friend the bear who is always in hibernation during the festive season. The hare finds a way around the problem by gifting the bear an alarm clock set for 10 minutes to eight, sunrise on Christmas Day. The ad is set to a cover of Keane’s 2004 hit “Somewhere Only We Know”, sung by Lily Allen.
Following a series of teasers on ITV that use the #sleeping bear, the ad breaks on 9th November in a special two minute spot during the X Factor. It will be the first ad to take up the whole of a break on ITV. The campaign is John Lewis’s most integrated yet with the TV ad supported by a host of multi- channel activity including an eBook and hardback book, Christmas card maker, merchandise such as Bear & Hare toys and onesies, social media, in-store and windows, a digital outdoor projection and soundtrack single. John Lewis is promoting the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #bearandhare and three channels: @JohnLewis_Bear, @JohnLewis_Hare and @JL_BearAndHare.
Directors Elliot Dear and Yves Geleyn took the two most traditional and time-honoured animation processes – stop-motion and traditional hand-drawn 2D animation – and combined them to create something innovative and unique. Their aim was to do almost everything in camera, using real lighting, lens and film craft to build a world where the audience can see and feel the painstaking work behind it. The 2D animation’s physical interaction with the set and the human imperfections inherent in the process create a hand-crafted piece full of heart and integrity.
The animation process involved constant shifts between 2D and 3D worlds. In order to achieve this complicated combination the whole film was first created in Blinkink Studios as a 3D previsualisation animatic with all the sets and characters built to scale. This allowed everything to be developed and planned alongside the modelmakers and animators, thus integrating the different disciplines and processes before the set was built or the characters were printed.
Aaron Blaise (Brother Bear, The Lion King, Mulan) and his team of veteran Disney animators at Premise Entertainment in Orlando, Florida, designed and animated the characters. The 2D-animation frames were printed onto mounted paper and cut with a laser. Each frame (nearly 4,000 in total) was then individually hand-labelled before going on set. Feature-film stop-frame animators then spent 6 weeks bringing the world to life.
The set was built by our production designer John Lee (Aliens, Fantastic Mr Fox, Frankenweenie) and his team at Shepperton Studios before being transported to Clapham Road Studios ready for the stop-motion shoot.
Post-production was done in-house in Blinkink’s animation studio, and the final grade was completed at MPC.
The Bear and Hare campaign was developed at adamandeveDDB, London, executive creative director Ben Priest, creative directors Aidan McClure and Laurent Simon, producer Anthony Falco, assistant producer Catherine Cullen, managing partner Tammy Einav, business director Miranda Hipwell and account manager Caroline Grayson.
Animation, using hand-drawn animation combined with 3D sets, was produced at Blinkink/Hornet by directors Elliot Dear and Yves Geleyn, 2D animation character designer/2D animation supervisor Aaron Blaise and 2D animation supervisor Dominic Carola (Premise Entertainment), executive producers Bart Yates, James Stevenson Bretton, Josephine Gallagher, line producer Kev Harwood, production manager Benjamin Lole, production designer John Lee, director of photography Toby Howell, and lead stop frame animator Andy Biddle.
Sound was produced at Factory by Sam Robson.