This is another great example of a good use of animation in an advert. John Lewis’ “The Bear and the Hare” is a beautifully well animated, emotional and unique piece of work.
The story is about a Bear that, naturally, hibernates during the winter and therefore has never experienced Christmas. However, his friend, the Hare, is determined to give him a gift he has never received before, the experience of Christmas. The animation’s soundtrack is Lilly Allen’s version of the Keane track “Somewhere Only We Know”. Her gentle and smooth voice really compliments the animation’s beautiful but slow pace style with a touch of magic.
The animation is very unique, especially nowadays where nearly all animation is done in 3D because the perception is that 3D will always produce better quality animation for the same price. There are a few animation studios that are brave enough to still use 2D animation because its expensive and the render quality is not as good, however the perception is that 2D will give a more fluid animation style. There are also a few madder studios that use stop motion animation because it provides the “human imperfection” that viewers love. What is unique about The Bear and the Hare is that is mixes 2D hand-drawn animation with stop motion animation and computer generated 3D effects. All superimposed onto a real life miniature set with beautifully detailed trees, snow, scrubs and all the other wonderful props.
This is a massive project. The 50+ team had to create the highly detailed snowy environment, hand draw every frame (nearly 4,000 in total) of animation for all the moving characters, print and cut each drawing, stop motion animation using the cut outs (which took 6 weeks to complete), add the special effects (such as snow flakes and frosty breath), remove any unwanted props (such as light rigs and prop stands), and colour grading. Basically, a hell of a lot of work!!!
The result was truly worth it. John Lewis has an advert which emotionally connects with the viewers and ties in very well with the rest of their “emotional Christmas” campaign. See examples below.