WWF’s ‘Adopt a Better Future’ ad uses stop-motion to great effect

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WWF’s ‘Adopt a Better Future’ ad uses stop-motion to great effect

The Background

2019 has been the year of Extinction Rebellion slowing our commutes to work, of fires raging in the Amazon and inaction from politicians too concerned with their own survival. 

Progress has been made though; we use steel water bottles, reusable coffee cups, pretend we won’t fly as much in 2020. 

But then Christmas appears and it’s time to buy stuff, a lot of stuff, covered in plastic, made of plastic, delivered next day wrapped in cardboard after having been transported in diesel vehicles. 

The Big Idea

Adopt a Better Future focuses squarely on the destruction of the Amazon and uses Christmas as an opportunity to re-evaluate what’s most important to younger generations. 

Although a jaguar is featured throughout, the tagline encourages people not to simply adopt a single species to help its survival, but to adopt a way of being to save the wider world.  

A young girl is used as a symbol of hope that change is possible, standing side-by-side with the rain forest and its wildlife. 

What They Did

The advert is created in stop-motion, combining individual still frames into an animation, think Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. 

The creators, Agile Films, say this took a full six weeks of model making and set building followed by a two-week shoot. Post production can’t have been quick either!   

The picture of the jaguar on the wall in the final scene of the advert has additional meaning having been created from the charcoal of trees destroyed in a rain forest blaze. 

The Review

If a dog’s not just for Christmas this ad is reminding us that the Amazon isn’t just for when it’s on the global news agenda.   

The use of stop-motion feels like a move that could also really connect with a younger viewer that might not pay as much attention to a regularly shot advert. 

Although the craft involved, and time taken to create the final piece might not be appreciated by all, I’m sure readers will acknowledge the art of it. The animation and the characters also help this lead on nicely from Iceland’s successful ‘Rang-tan’ festive spot in 2018.  

Rather than simply creating a scene of devastation, with the solution being a donation, this ad has a stronger purpose than some traditional charity campaigns by encouraging a new way of thinking. It’s a timely reminder of the fires that plagued the Amazon in past months, a story that inevitably gets lost over time amongst a backdrop of Brexit and elections.   

With Christmas adverts using nostalgia to get us into the mood against a backdrop of doom and gloom, Uncommon’s work manages to stand out for being a realistic look at the future. 

In Hindsight

The ad also ends with ‘search wwf adopt’ which leads to a page with options to adopt various animals, including the jaguar. A quick rehash of the website in line with the campaign could help spread the message around more non-monetary ways of helping the WWF’s causes – particularly for any children inspired by what they see on TV.   

Could more be made of the use of charcoal from rain forest fires to create the jaguar picture? It’s a potentially inspirational piece of art that deserves to be seen by more people as a reminder of a turbulent 2019 in the Amazon.   

I am mainly pleased that this is a Christmas advert review with no trees, singing children, dancing adults or fantasy animals. IKEA being the other winner of the seasonal selection this year, despite the tree. 

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Kevan Barber

Kevan Barber

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