Greenpeace in France is using a cute holiday animation to surprise viewers with a hard-hitting message about air pollution.
The charity's end-of-year film is a stop motion animation about a little girl who's concerned about her teddy bear as she walks through a city in winter with grandma. She coughs and her grandma tells her to pull her scarf tighter; as viewers, our first assumption is that it's because it's cold. When she gets home (where she again seems to be worried about cold air getting into the house) she starts to make a handmade gift for her teddy, wraps it and puts it under the tree.
The reveal is that this isn't a woolly scarf but a face mask, to protect the teddy from air pollution. However, the text on screen informs us that neither a scarf or mask is effective against air pollution and that 5.5 million people a year die prematurely as a result of breathing polluted air.
The spot was created by agency 84.Paris and directed by Anna Mantzaris, who recently worked alongside Wes Anderson on his long-form animation “Isle of Dogs." It was produced by Passion Animation Studios in London, and production required over 80 hours of shooting on three sets simultaneously, using handmade puppets and props. As well as running online, it will also air on a large screen at a Parisian Christmas market near the Jardin des Tuileries.
"This Christmas story offers a double reading: at first, it seems touching and positive, and seems to be about protecting ourselves against cold temperatures. But the shock at the end reveals a more dire problem, for which we have no effective solution: air pollution," say Olivier and Hervé Bienaimé, co-presidents and creative directors of 84.Paris.