This 'trailer' for a new 'Wind in the Willows' movie has a devastating environmental message

David Attenborough narrates a new version of the classic story in film by Don't Panic London

Published On
Mar 29, 2019

Editor's Pick

Moviegoers in the U.K. will see a trailer for what purports to be a new "Wind in the Willows" animated movie in the coming weeks--but it's not what it seems. Narrated by David Attenborough, the "trailer" is actually an ad for environmental organization The Wildlife Trusts, in which it's revealed that the bucolic riverbank life of Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger has been devastated by pollution, bulldozers and urban sprawl.

Created by agency Don't Panic, the film's gorgeous animation and top talent (Stephen Fry plays Badger, alongside actors Catherine Tate, Alison Steadman and Asim Chaudhry) are designed to fool viewers at first into thinking it's a genuine trailer for a heartwarming new version of the children's classic. 

But as Toad rides his motorbike into building works, it's quickly revealed that the animals' habitat has been ruined; Badger sits in his armchair with a flyover roaring overheard and Ratty sits in his broken in a polluted, empty riverbed. Meanwhile, Mole struggles to survive under a highway and Toad sadly hangs a picture of a plastic-strangled puffin on his wall in Toad Hall.

It concludes with a call to action from Attenborough, who informs us that "since we first met Badger and friends, the U.K. has become one of the most nature-depleted places on the planet" to join the Wildlife Trusts. As we see the animals set off down the riverbank determined to rebuild their homes, Attenborough tell us that it's not too late if we all act together. 

The film was animated by Rowdy, part of the team behind Wes Anderson’s "Isle of Dogs." The animators focused on the correct genus of the species and were influenced by the original "Wind in the Willows" illustrations.

The trailer will be played for two weeks in 500 cinemas across the U.K. from March 29. It will also run on social media and the Wildlife Trusts website. 

Rick Dodds, Creative Director, Don’t Panic, says in a statement: “In recent years, Hollywood has done a great job of adapting our classic children’s book stories for the big screen. So we chose the most British of them all, and enlisted the help of Badger and friends to highlight the stark reality of the British countryside. The narrative arc of the film trailer closely echoes the story of our countryside. In the beginning it was beautiful and plentiful, then things get pretty dark and twisted - but at the end there's hope because there's still time to do something about it.”

“Our campaign strategy focused on creating a strong sense of nostalgia; making the problem relatable to supporters of all ages," adds Ellie Moore, head of engagement, Don’t Panic. "By using a trailer mechanic we’re also able to distribute key content in familiar formats, making people look twice and creating a value exchange through the reveal."


Mar 29, 2019
Client :
The Wildlife Trusts
Agency :
Don't Panic-London
Stephanie Hilborne
Director of Campaigns & Policy :
Nikki Williams
Campaign Coordinator :
Joanna Richards
Founding Partner :
Joe Wade
Founding Partner :
Mark Whiteway
Creative Partner :
Rick Dodds
Client Services Partner :
Jane Marshall
Senior Creative :
George McCallum
Creative :
Alice Dowdall
Strategy and Media :
Ellie Moore
Senior Project Manager :
Louise Boyd
Account Manager :
Thea Deakin
Agency Producer :
Huw Allen
Head of Artwork :
Paul Howard
Designer :
Ellen Crowther
Production :
Director/Producer/DOP :
Matthew Day
Director/Producer :
Thomas Harnett O’Meara
Animation :
Andy Biddle
Animation :
Tobias Fouracre
Animation :
Anthony Farquhar Smith
Animation :
Max Martin
1st AC & BTS :
Toby Goodyear
Additional Motion Control :
Max Halstead
Gaffer :
Aldo Camilleri
Head of Puppets :
Ciara McClean
Puppet Department :
Stefano Cordioli
Puppet Department :
Jade Gerrard
Puppet Department :
Petrarycja Cichocka
Puppet Department :
Carlos Padilla
Puppet Department :
Saskia Martindale
Puppet Department :
Claire Lever
Puppet Department :
Sofia Rodriguez
Costume :
Janet Knetchell
Art Director :
Sarah Crombie
Art Director :
Yossel Simpson Little
Modeller :
Catherine Prowse
Modeller :
James Owens
Modeller :
Colin Armitage
Modeller :
Ben Cote
Art Department :
George Warren
Art Department :
Renata Corillo Martin
Art Department :
Colette Pidgeon
Art Department :
Nathan Ward
Art Department :
Jessica Vogot
Art Department :
Dewie Evans
CNC and Laser Cutting :
Jack Kirby
CNC and Laser Cutting :
Almost Everything
Painter :
Richard Davidson
Scenic Painter :
Angela Pang
Post Production :
Alasdair Brotherson
Graphics :
Flaminia Rossi
Graphics :
Leaun Davis
Rigging :
Robin Jackson
Kingston University Student :
Kingston University Student :
Saskia Tomlinson
Norwich University Student :
Amara Norman
Norwich University Student :
Emma Niemis
Norwich University Student :
Michael Chapman
Norwich University Student :
Cheznie Walters
Norwich University Student :
A Middleton
Central St Martins University Student :
Brad Gilbert
Production Assistance :
Vasliki P
Sound :
String and Tins
Original Music :
Will Cohen
Sound Design :
Will Cohen
Orchestra :
Fames Project
Lead Violin :
Dorry Macaulay
Music Preparation :
Simon Whiteside
Additional Music :
Speed Toad
Additional Music :
Andy Stewart
Additional Sound Design :
Lawrence Kendrick
Audio Post Production Producer :
Eimear Ni Ghuaire
Re-Recording Mixer :
Tim Cavagin
Thanks to :
Gordon Allen
Thanks to :
Vasliki P

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