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RAC - Pied Piper

16 July 2013

BBH have launched their new campaign for the RAC, starting with a TVC Directed by Passion Picture’s Drew Lightfoot. The spot which shows us a mechanic and his team of animated tools, reassures customers that this summer the RAC have a team of fully equipped vans who can ‘bring the garage to you’, in order to get you to where you are going with as little disruption as possible.


The spot is a mixture of live action and stop frame, shot across multiple formats to bring the two seamlessly together. Drew Lightfoot comments that “The week before the shoot, I shot motion tests with some of the tools, playing with timings and trying different ways to imbue them with character. This was a great exploratory phase to figure out how the tools might interact. One of my favourite characters is simple set of Allan Keys, opened up and animated to leap like a gazelle. I still feel for him, when he doesn't quite make a jump into the van and needs a helping nudge.”

On characterisation he also adds; “I had always envisioned it as a cross between the animals boarding the Arc two by two and a great marching army procession.I tried to think of each tool as an animal or group of animals - some strong and proud, some awkward and less mobile, while others are just downright cheeky.

passion 2

A lot of the character comes down to the animation itself, and I have to tip my hat to the animation team we had onboard. A simple crop clip, for instance, sliding along the floor, doesn't look like much, but add it to a school of other croc clips that jostle and spook in unison and suddenly they start to resemble fish. When the light reflects across the group as they turn together, they undeniably become a school of fish.”

The balance of timing during the shoot was the greatest hurdle. We had one day for the live-action shots and only three days for animation. Thankfully I had the brilliant support of Kev Harwood (first AD) and Simon Quinn (producer) both veterans of the stop-frame feature film realm to help draft and maintain an ever evolving schedule.

As all the shots take place in the garage itself, the only way to achieve close up and wide coverage in the animation was to break some of the close-ups off onto smaller replica sets. Originally I had planned to have several animators working on the master shots that involved great armies of tools but in the end, animator Tom Edgar opted to tackle the masters shots by himself,  he's insane but he pulled it off.

passion 3

This project really made me appreciate the craft of stop-frame from a directing point of view. Typically I get get right in there and push puppets around but on this occasion, there were so many sets to manage, I ended up only shooting a few small incidental pieces.

This shoot also made me realize that waiting for stop motion to happen is a bit like being a father at a birthing - you can be a part of the planning stage, try to work out and plan every detail before hand, but when the magic is happening, all you can do is pace, hope, worry and try not to disturb the animators too many times as they pour their spirit into inanimate tools.

  • Client RAC
  • Agency BBH
  • BBH Creative Team Maria Sousa Machado & Claire Stokes
  • BBH Creative Director Nick Kidney & Kevin Stark
  • BBH Producer Samara Zagnoiev
  • BBH Strategic Business Lead Richard Stainer
  • BBH Strategy Director Nick Fell
  • BBH Team Director Jon Barnes
  • BBH Team Manager Rebecca Levy
  • Live Action Producer Raw Jay Lovelock
  • Production Manager Katie Keith
  • Production Company Passion Pictures
  • Director Drew Lightfoot
  • Executive Producer Producer Simon Quinn
  • Live Action Producer Jason Lovelock
  • DoP Peter Sorg
  • Art Director James Hatt
  • 1st AD Kev Harwood
  • VFX Supervisor Neil Riley
  • Animator1 Tom Edgar
  • Animator2 Inez Woldman
  • Animator3 Steve Warne
  • Editing The Whitehouse Editor Ben Stephens
  • Grade The Mill -Mick Vincent
  • Music THECOMPOSERS.TV / Chris Read
  • Sound Factory
  • Sound Engineer Anthony Moore & Jon Clarke


Contact Name
Hannah Kluman
44 +207 323 9933


Contact Name
Emilie Walmsley - Producer
+33 (0)1 42 73 63 10

New York

Contact Name
Belinda Blacklock - Executive Producer
+ 1 212 725 9095