In a delightful collaboration for M&S Food's Christmas campaign, The Mill's team has once again teamed up with the iconic Fairy, voiced by the talented Dawn French.
The latest 16x9-directed ad, helmed by Dom & Nic, features the mischievous mittens with celebrity voices Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, marking their first foray into the festive season.
The heartwarming ad, which contributed to M&S Food's record-breaking Christmas in 2022, unfolds as Fairy encounters Left and Right, a pair of conjoined reindeer-shaped mittens accidentally dropped in the snow by their owner, young Lilly.
Directed by Dom & Nic, the spot captures Fairy treating the playful mittens to Christmas revelry before leading them to a grand feast set on a festive dining table.
Concluding the scene, Fairy declares, "This is not just food… This is M&S Christmas food."
Andy Steele, Creative Director at The Mill, expressed the complexity of bringing the mischievous mittens to life, noting multiple remakes of the animated structural rigs to achieve a nuanced range of motion and emotion.
The team's dedication to detail even extended to hiring a professional knitter for real-life mitten references on set.
A materialistic approach was pivotal in capturing the authentic look and feel of a child's mittens, with inspiration drawn from the movement style of Forky in Toy Story 4, Sesame Street, and The Muppet Show.
David Bryan, Animation Director at The Mill, highlighted the focus on syncing the head and body of the mittens with a charming mouth action, complementing the energy in the voiceovers provided by Reynolds and McElhenney.
The animated characters, brought to life with remarkable voice talents, utilized features like antlers to express emotion.
The team cleverly used a real mitten for puppeteering animation references, aiming to maintain authenticity in technical actions and avoid over-humanizing their limbs.
Creative Director Andy Steele emphasized the enthusiasm of the animation team, expressing the rare opportunity to work with esteemed talents like Dawn French, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
The result is a testament to the creativity and dedication poured into the project, evident in the charming and entertaining nature of the ad.