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Millie Bobby Brown and her puppy star in Pandora’s new animated holiday campaign

Words by Isabelle Sacks

It’s time to get in the spirit.

‘Tis this season for holiday campaigns, sales, and treats, and Pandora really knows how to do the holidays. This year it’s celebrating its new Timeless collection with its first animated short film, entitled One Lovely Day

Pandora teamed up with the award-winning Andy Baker Studio to create the film around “a message of love and unity”, tapping a star-studded lineup, including Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown and Game of Thrones star Nathalie Emmanuel.

The short film blends real-life footage with animated elements to bring together Pandora’s ambassadors for the first time, despite not being able to do so physically, reminding us of the importance of coming together over the holiday season in whatever way we can.

In the film, an animated Millie Bobby Brown (alongside her puppy Winnie) is joined by the Pandora ‘Muses’ – actress Nathalie Emmanual, models Georgia May Jagger and Halima Aden, dancer Larsen Thompson, Australian fashion writer/director Margaret Zhang, and artist Tasya van Ree – as well as music and design duo Coco & Breezy.

The ‘Muses’ is a collective of inspiring women who represent the values Pandora stands for – from inclusivity and social responsibility to female empowerment. Each of them is transformed into beautiful 2D animations on a mission to spread love, holiday spirit and the joy of gift-giving.

To find out more I spoke to the creative mind behind the film, Andy Baker.

I know this year has meant that a lot of the industry hasn’t been able to film, or film in the way that they normally would, which is not the case for animation – how has it affected your work? 

We have definitely been busy! Especially in the first few months of the pandemic when everything shut down around the world, we were seeing a lot more animation briefs and scripts that I think would have normally been live-action. It was a little bit hectic but also amazing as I think it’s turned a lot of people on to animation and how good it can be to create really engaging and fun projects for brands. I think it’s also been great as there’s so much more work that people within the industry are getting to work on new and exciting projects and it feels like there is more access for new artists looking to work in animation, which is great! 

Where did your passion for that 2D classical animation style come from? 

We got cable when I was a kid and I just remember bingeing on all the cartoons on channels like Disney and Cartoon Network. We also had the really early Adult Swim stuff on really late at night when I got older which was amazing. That blew my mind a bit when I was a teenager. Looking back on it, it was such an amazing time in cartoon history with an explosion of different styles that moved away from the really rigid ’80s superhero shows and became really weird and trippy. It was amazing to be watching all of that as a kid although I actually had no idea you could do it as a job as it seemed like all the cool stuff was being made in LA or NYC and there was no way I could get over there. I just loved the absurdity of the humour in those early shows and the artwork is kind of incredible, much freer and varied than a lot of the shows now. 

What would you say the benefits are, in terms of storytelling, of using animation or mixed-mediums over traditional filmmaking? 

I’m a huge lover of film as well so I don’t want to diss it too much but for me, animation has the ability to really take you to other worlds and on journeys that I think would, or would have been incredibly hard to do in live-action in the past. Obviously now with CGI, you can create pretty much anything but it still doesn’t feel the same to me as a really amazingly created 2D world. I think it’s the escapism of being able to go and live in this drawn world that someone has created for a bit as a way to escape reality which animation has over live-action. I still also think one of the benefits is the magic of hand-drawn animation. Literally creating a character and bringing them to life and giving them personality and emotions that you as the viewer can relate with is and always will be the thing that hooks me into 2D animation. Even at this point, knowing how its made and ‘seeing behind the curtain’ I still love it when someone creates an animated film that just completely hooks you in! 

How did this collaboration between Pandora and your studio come about? 

We were contacted by Malling, who works with Pandora, about potentially working on the project together. They had seen some of our earlier work for Anderson Paak with Robin Velghe and for Seamless and Parklife with Studio Moross and we discussed making something along those lines for Pandora. Their original references and ideas were really cool and hooked us in from the beginning and the whole project was a really different process to the advertising world and allowed for creative evolution as the project evolved which was nice and super collaborative.  

What do you think makes a successful collaboration with a brand? 

This is a hard one! For us as a studio, creating worlds is something we’re really interested in. So I personally think success is creating a world for that brand that’s uniquely ‘own-able’ and sets them apart in the visual landscape. There’s so much visual noise that we digest every day that I think being able to give a brand a strong visual world for them to own and cut through that noise would definitely be a success in my opinion. 

How did you capture the unique personalities of each of the celebrity ambassadors? Did they have any input in the designs of their characters? 

This was a really intense process and something we worked on a lot with character designer Connie Van. All of the ambassadors are so iconic in their own right and it’s so important with character design to really get the essence of each person’s character in there. For some reason, some are always really straight forward and others can take a bit longer to really nail that personality in 2D form. It’s a balance of shape and line and forms and can sometimes be as simple as taking some lines away or isolating the unique features of each person but not making them too over the top. It’s a delicate balance that Connie and Lucia handled amazingly well. Each ambassador had input for sure, but they were all really easy to work with, which was great as designing nine famous ambassadors was something we were worried about at the start! 

How are you spending the holidays this year? 

We are really lucky that most Christmases we try and go snowboarding. I’m the most city person and can’t wait to get back whenever we’re in the countryside but I love the mountains and the freedom we get there and will miss it a lot this year. Obviously because of you-know-what this year we will be spending the holidays in the UK with family (hopefully!) which will be really nice. I also just had ankle surgery so I will probably be trying not to eat all the cakes and starting to do rehab! 

pandora.com

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