The hare and the bear Christmas animation


This year it’s been hard to miss the big budget adverts bounding across our televisions, with one major retailer reported to have spent a million pounds on their hopping piece of wonder. Here at ifour we decided it was time to take a step back from such expense and get into the real spirit of Christmas.

Instead of giving our clients Christmas cards and gifts as we normally would, this year we have chosen to donate our usual budget to the Tunbridge Wells Winter Shelter. This is a local charity that opens for eight weeks every January and offers an immediate place to stay the night, get a hot meal and find signposting to other charities that can further help those sleeping rough in our area.
But we haven’t forgotten about our clients, suppliers and friends. So, for ifour’s 2013 Christmas, we challenged ourselves to beg, borrow and charity shop for our own stop motion animation advert, on a strict budget of £20. After raiding toy boxes, the studio rec room and workstations, we headed out to see what the charity shops of Tunbridge Wells could offer. They did us proud (and we met some lovely volunteers in Mind, Age and British Heart Foundation) offering a choice of ‘lead’ bears, oversized alarm clocks and a giant soft squirrel, along with numerous kitsch deer for our woodland companions. Our star character, the hare, is the boss’s daughter’s prized toy, which she dutifully lent us for the shoot, no doubt scoring extra brownie points with Santa through her generosity.
We sketched out a rough storyboard on our whiteboard wall and set up an animation studio in our meeting room, ready to begin the slow process that is stop motion animation. Backgrounds where created using free cardboard and cut brown paper, the wrecking ball was a ball pit escapee painted black and snow came in the form of polystyrene beanbag beans, with other props and elements sourced from around the studio. Rather than just doing one ending, we decided we would have to offer a second alternative ending, based on what happens if you wake a bear (or a designer) without a fresh cup of coffee to hand, so you can watch both and pick if you prefer the bear to be nice or naughty in the end!
Given the tight budget, we kept computer usage to a minimum and relied on our team’s hands-on creative skills, making everything we could do ourselves. It was a great team bonding exercise as we all pitched in and the challenge really got everyone’s creative juices flowing. We managed to achieve both videos at a total cost of £15.91 – proving you really don’t need a hefty budget to remind people what Christmas is all about! 
Merry Christmas from the ifour design agency!