Framestore was thrilled to flex its character-creating muscle for the latest campaign from Santander, crafting the headline TV spot with agency Arnold Worldwide and director Daniel Kleinman at Rattling Stick. Drawing on a talented team of animators and its intricate understanding of creature performance, Framestore proudly presents Piggy: a distinctly different new face for the Spanish bank, designed to demonstrate the business’ values, and a mutual trust and respect for its customers.
Piggy proved a delicate creative challenge for Framestore’s team, who trod a fine line between the recognisable ceramic piggy banks of childhood and a photorealistic animal in their iteration of the creature. Anything too ‘cartoony’ would miss landing the message of the brief; yet it was integral that Piggy read as friendly and appealing, reflecting the bank’s approachable nature. Framestore set its concept artists to task establishing a style for the character, working with Daniel [Kleinman] to build a personality profile that would create an emotive pull for the entire piece.
So what do we know of Piggy? An optimistic young adult, in porcine terms, living a comfortable and loving life in the suburbs. When curiosity carries the creature to the big city - a new and unknown environment, scary but intriguing - Piggy struggles to find its feet (quite literally), and ultimately needs patching up. The kind teller who puts our pig back on its trotters provides the story’s feel-good emotional hook, demonstrating how business and customer can prosper together.
Technically, Framestore’s artists worked to combine the two realities of porcelain piggy bank and energetic young animal. References for modelling and texture looked to other creatures - spanning puppies to hippos - to establish skin textures, a fine ‘fuzz’ of fur, suitable proportions and a workable range of motion, to allow the character space to perform. Animation tests helped to inform the shoot in L.A, where Framestore supervised from a VFX perspective, to facilitate a smooth post process.
Piggy’s pavement smash pushed the artists to balance said realities further, as his ‘ceramic’ qualities are brought to the fore, and the multiple pieces interplay with human hands. The sheer number of Piggy ‘looks’ in the spot - dirty, wet, cracked - allowed Framestore’s artists to demonstrate subtle and intelligent nuance in the creature, a skill well-practised amongst the team.