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The Shadybug

  • Creative Production
  • Color
  • Design & Animation
  • Edit
  • Music
  • Sound Design
  • Visual Effects & 3D

ASN Bank is the oldest sustainable bank in the Netherlands, and it’s on a mission to grow. Under the bank’s guiding idea ‘that’s how money can create happiness’ (zo maakt geld gelukkig), it works to make people aware of their financial habits and how they can stand in the way of sustainable progress. For this fourth chapter in the storybook-style campaign, we needed to build on the familiar world of ASN Bank to encourage people to choose a bank that doesn’t deal with shady regimes. But we couldn’t rely on the success of the campaign to date. Like ASN Bank continuing to reimagine sustainability for 50 years, this was about honouring brand history while delighting audiences with something a little different.

In this TV commercial, we zoomed in on the world of ASN Bank to tell a serious message with scale and humour. The Shadybug rules over the insects of the Fable forest with an iron fist, but when he seeks finance from ASN Bank for his regime, he’s refused. From the little leader’s stature compared to the bigger, slower bugs, his look development to performance and even the sounds he makes, we worked to make The Shadbug as silly as he is shady.

To make the bugs in their iconic soft, fabric-like textures blend into the natural environment, we shot in a miniature set and captured as much on-set reference as possible. Aside from the usual colour charts, chrome balls and grey balls, we made 3D printed miniatures of all the characters and brought material reference with us on set. Shooting these references for every shot in the film gave the lighting team a great starting point. By getting 90% of the lighting with relative ease, the artists had more time to focus on the last 10% of craft polish that made the shots sing.

Keeping to the micro-scale, we also made use of fun references like larger-than-life acorns, real scale water droplets, dragonfly helicopters and a flower as a mini-megaphone. With this focus on scale and detail, people can spot fun new touches each time they see the spot on TV.

Read more on Cartoon Brew.