As the wave of Christmas ads continue to compete for ratings and win over public favour, there’s one ad that won’t be part of the cycle on TV this year. Touted as this year’s ‘banned’ Christmas ad, supermarket Iceland’s offering was recently taken off the airwaves for being ‘too political’ by advertising body, Clearcast. Narrated by Emma Thompson, the film tells the story of Rang-tan, an endearingly rendered orangutan who loses his home due to palm oil’s impact on the rainforest.
Originally produced by Passion Animation Studios and Mother for environmental charity Greenpeace, the film was later acquired by the supermarket, who were keen to align with its social messaging. Regardless of the ban, today the film has clocked up over 30-million views online. But as the press and media machines continued to turn their gears, the animation process itself became increasingly overshadowed and neglected by the headlines. We reached out to the animators behind it all, Salon Alpin (Simon Griesser and Philipp Comarella) to uncover just how the process unfolded. Working between Lisbon and Vienna respectively, they talk designing characters, using VR to animate and keeping craftsmanship at the project’s heart.