It has been quite sometime now, that animation has gained traction and importance beyond just being a medium for kids. It has been explored in various ways across different fields, including advertising and brand promotions. In the recent times, this practice has become more rampant and the experiments clearly reflect, that animation is possibly more effective as an advertising vertical than others.
A recent instance of this would be, Dive In, an animated short was conceptualised and produced by Humour Me for a backpack brand named Arctic Fox, that stands for the power of creative dreams and believes in chasing them with relentless optimism and perseverance. The short is directed by Humour Me founder and CEO Dhruv Sachdeva and Clifford Afonso.
Sachdeva said, “We wanted to bring our brand ambassador to life, and what better way to do that than animation? Animation as an art form lends itself perfectly to tell stories that are otherwise not possible in live action. Animation when done right has the power of capturing people’s imagination like nothing else.”
Dive In tells the story of an arctic fox in pursuit of a dream in the harsh, unforgiving Arctic tundra. The fox’s goal is to catch an elusive lemming, who always manages to evade its grasp. On the way, the arctic fox encounters a lot of obstacles that present potentially disastrous consequences. The film follows the journey of the fox, who refuses to give up under any circumstances.
The brand Arctic Fox was inspired by the animal of the same name and in order to hunt, arctic foxes must dive into the snow again and again. They are often unsuccessful, but they continue to persevere until they succeed. Arctic Fox encourages its community to conquer their doubts and fears, and dive into their dreams, with their backpacks being a conduit to those dreams.
Humour Me is India’s first branded entertainment creative agency and holds a unique position to build culture with their communication products and content. They’re highly imaginative in providing solutions for communication challenges to their clients. The team comprises of screenwriters, directors, music composers, illustrators, art directors, to creative directors, digital planners and account management teams from the advertising world. Their communication pieces exist in unique formats of entertainment, from long-form video content, podcasts, branded music experiences, disruptive documentaries, integrated live shows, to world-class Pixar-like 3D animation short films. They are best known for having helped built brands like Paper Boat, Xiaomi to name a fewTheir mantra is “ADVERTISING 2.0! We aim to re-imagine advertising as if it were invented today”.
Sachdeva added, “Dive In was an extremely ambitious idea. We had seen David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series and fallen in love with the arctic fox as an animal. In this documentary, one sees this snowy little bundle of joy striving to survive in harsh climatic conditions despite the odds. The arctic fox is the
perfect embodiment of how anybody can be successful in the world and achieve their goals. The arctic fox also has an extremely unique hunting style, where it leaps up and dives head first into the snow to try and catch its prey (usually lemmings). This singular focus and optimism inspired us to make this animated film. The film aims to highlight a very simple fact that there are no shortcuts to overnight success!”
The message that Dive In spreads, is of extreme importance in today’s digital era when people can get anything at the push of a button. The truth is if one wants to succeed, one has to continue to ‘dive in’. The entire film was executed in Delhi and the writing, direction, music and post-production was done in-house at Humour Me. The animation of the film is very lifelike and amazingly executed. The entire process took close to four months with over 50 people working tirelessly to achieve an impossible deadline.
Talking about the animation format and the techniques used, Sachdeva mentioned, “Dive In is a highly elaborate 3D animation film. We first created our character concepts and environments. Then came detailed storyboarding, which went through extensive preproduction and multiple discussions on every visual detail. We then worked with an extremely experienced animation team lead by the film’s CG and execution lead, Vrinda Sood.”
The entire film was made in greyscale and the creative team worked very closely with the animators in getting every shot, expression, camera movement, and character movement right. Vrinda and her team went through hours of documentary films on the arctic fox to get every detail of movement and physicality accurate. The final characters were developed until the team was satisfied with the outcome.
He continued, “The biggest struggle was the snow simulation and interaction! This is where Vrinda and her team were masterful in producing an output which I believe is a first for this country. Like any 3D animation film, the rendering process was a gigantic undertaking which then led to finessing important details of lighting, and character expressions/movement. The film was digitally composited and then finally rendered.”
Dive In is the outcome of deep commitment to a singular focus, constant perseverance, and above all else, relentless optimism despite the odds just like its title suggests. “As Arctic Fox’s creative agency, we had come up with this positioning and tagline at the launch of the brand. The brand’s tagline is “Dive In”. Therefore, it made perfect sense for the film title, concluded Sachdeva.
The animated short correctly resonates the sentiment that the makers imagined it to do. And as they say, “There is no guarantee you will succeed, but if you don’t dive in, you surely won’t!,” give your dreams and self-belief a chance and take that plunge!