Children's counselling service Childline has launched its new ad, Nobody is Normal, aimed at young people who feel they don't fit in. The delightful ad was created entirely using stop motion, and features a rather surprising soundtrack.
Created by marketing agency The Gate, with the animation overseen by Blink Productions and Rowdy Films, the ad (below) features a creature wearing a 'human' disguise, and attempting to keep its true identity concealed during a day at school. (If you're inspired to create your own masterpiece, check out the best VFX tools).
At various points during the ad, the young boy's woolly 'monster' interior threatens to burst through out of his body and reveal itself to his classmates. Eventually (and we won't spoil how), the boy discovers he is by no means the only one hiding a secret inner identity. The ad ends with the important message: “No matter how you feel inside, you’re not alone."
The ad carries an adorably quirky aesthetic, with a the stop motion animation and hand-crafted models lending it a refreshing DIY style. But perhaps the most surprising element of the ad is the accompanying song, Radiohead's Creep. Notoriously reticent to lend their music to advertising, it seems the band must have felt this a worthy cause – and we can't help but agree.
“At Childline (opens in new tab), we often hear from young people who feel like they are different," Childline's marketing lead Grania Hyde-Smith said in a press release. "This can be for a number of reasons, including bullying, abuse and mental-health issues, but sometimes young people just don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. The Gate (opens in new tab) have done a brilliant job of bringing this story to life in a captivating animation, which shows young people that we’re all different and there’s no such thing as ‘being normal’."
The ad is truly powerful in its simplicity, and it's already going down a storm online. "It manages to encapsulate so many different struggles that children may be having," one YouTube user comments (opens in new tab), while another adds, "I loved this so much - can't wait to watch with the kids." Others have even suggested the ad doesn't just resonate with children: "Wonderful video, even as adults we feel this but often spend so much energy hiding it".
Along with the ad, The Gate has shared a brilliant behind the scenes video (above), offering a glimpse of the craft that went into Blink Productions (opens in new tab) and Rowdy Films (opens in new tab)' stop motion animation, as well as the models themselves. (There's something both fascinating and disturbing about watching a set of model children's heads being placed into an oven.)
We're big fans of Childline's ad, which we'd say is up there with Bodyform's Womb Stories when it comes to our favourite animated ads of 2020. If you're looking for more inventive examples, our list of the best animated music videos is full of weird and wonderful ideas.