Christmas Ad Combines Stop Motion and Hand Drawn Animation to Melt Your Heart

Each year, UK retailer John Lewis releases a touching, moving and otherwise awesome Christmas advertisement that manages to moisten our eyes and get us in the Holiday spirit like none other.

Doing this requires that they constantly re-evaluate their approach and come up with new and creative ways to inspire and endear viewers to their message, and this year, that meant taking a step back and using animation techniques that’ll hit you right in the nostalgia bone: hand drawing and stop-motion.

There’s no question that old animation techniques are making a comeback, especially among independent filmmakers with smaller budgets, but John Lewis purpose for using the old techniques for creating this year’s “The Bear & The Hare” advert had nothing to do with money (in fact, the ad cost 7 million pounds to make).

The reason has to do with their target market (which includes yours truly and many of you I’m sure) who can’t help but associate these traditional animation techniques with old Christmas movies and the feelings those evoke. Here’s a behind the scenes look at how the ad came together:

“This is a classic Christmas tale in the John Lewis tradition with an innovative combination of animated techniques,” reads the BTS video description. “The marriage of traditional hand-drawn 2D stop frame animation with model sets, creates a tangible world full of texture and detail that conveys the honesty behind the John Lewis Christmas message.”

In all there were nearly 4,000 2D frames printed onto mounted paper and cut with a laser, which then took 6 weeks to bring to life through stop motion. Combine that with hand-drawn animation (this is, in fact, the first ad in UK history to use traditional pencil drawn frames) and you get something truly special on many levels.

So if you’re having a tough Monday (or even if you’re having an awesome one) watch the video at the top and let the happiness just wash over you. And if you’re the technical type, don’t forget to check out the behind the scenes video as well.

(via SLR Lounge)

  • Jim Johnson

    Why is it suddenly so dusty in here?

  • robin

    “this is, in fact, the first ad in UK history to use traditional pencil drawn frames”

  • Kieran Grasby

    It does not melt my heart. It irritates the ever-living crap out of me.

  • Richard Polhill

    What about the Aquafresh 3 ad then?

  • simon

    Last year’s was ever so much better –

  • Bah Humbug!

    Ahhhh… personifying animals in the name of consumerism, how original.

  • Kitsu

    Oh for the love of…
    Watch the making of. Why do so many people get so offended by stuff that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things?
    The effort put into it is amazing and it’s a very lovely animation.

  • Sarah

    That is completely awe inspiring and a little sad that most people will never know what went into it. It blows my mind when people do things like this!

  • Matt Wheeler

    That was incredible, I love the style and execution of it. And to all you consumer trolls, respect that art, even if it isn’t December yet. Geez.

  • Chocolatini

    Our best talented artists creating important messages for products to consume. Propelling humanity forward, one ad at a time.