Staatsloterij, the biggest lottery in the Netherlands, is known for its massive New Year’s Eve jackpots and heartwarming TVCs starring special animals like Frekkel the scruffy dog. The message of this campaign was not about the size of the jackpot - though 30 million is nice - but caring for others and the karma that brings. Our brief was to make this new character as cute as it could be.
Real hedgehogs were hibernating during the filming of Freddie, so we had to make our loveable protagonist completely in CG. We based the design concept for Freddie on a combination of an African pygmy hedgehog and a European hedgehog, with a cartoony realism to dial up the cuteness. For the live-action shoot, we also worked with a practical hedgehog puppet to help with a realistic result. Because the prop was made using spines from a taxidermy hedgehog (who died of natural causes!) we had some great reference for performance, compositing and lighting.
With the previous year’s Frekkel campaign having won the Gouden Loeki, there was a lot of pressure to deliver a character from scratch who can be the star of the commercial, all with very short turnaround time. Luckily this was possible by approaching it head-on, coordinating the team to work in parallel and push the bar with every shot. With a bit of hard work, we saw it was possible for CG characters to be just as cute as real ones.