Oscar-winning studio Aardman animation have joined forced with creative agency Caroline to help shine light on age-related Macular Degeneration. Aardman’s team of animators have given life to the star of the latest charity marketing campaign, named “Mac”, who was created by the team at Caroline to spearhead a campaign for The Macular Society, a small charity that supports people with central vision loss.
It is hoped that the campaign will help raise awareness for Age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in the UK. With the aim of gaining as much attention as possible to the cause, Caroline approached fellow Bristol-based Aardman to ask for their assistance in helping design the character and to create a short animation involving Mac to help launch the campaign. Aardman agreed to use their animation talents, responsible for hits such as ‘Wallace & Gromit’ and ‘Shaun the Sheep’, to produce the film which was completed at the end of February.
Andy Purnell, joint Creative Director at Caroline commented, “The Macular Society is a (by charity definitions we’re medium) small and relatively unknown charity, but they are doing some amazing work to help support people suffering from vision loss, primarily those with AMD, a condition that is becoming more and more common in our society as we all live longer. Charity advertising is not easy, it is a very, very crowded market. With a small budget we wanted to do something that would make us stand out from the crowd.”
“We came up with Mac, an engaging character that would help bring a complex issue to life and we were delighted that Aardman agreed to come on board to bring him to life,” added Purnell.
The short film, directed by Bram Ttwheam, follows Mac’s role in giving Gloria, his elderly owner a wonderful and active life, of which vision is key to. Sadly, Mac succumbs to AMD, and poor Gloria’s full and varied life is severely affected, as, of course, is Mac.
The film will be one part of a wider campaign that will also include road shows, events, materials and additional channel activity to raise awareness of the condition of AMD and the essential role the Macular Society plays in helping sufferers and funding research to find a cure for AMD. The campaign will also be appealing for donations to help the Macular Society in its vital work, and to increase membership.
Heather Wright, Executive Producer and Head of Partner Content, Aardman remarked, “We love making films for charities like this one for the Macular Society, because it gives us the opportunity to use our creativity in a meaningful way beyond simply entertaining. Animated characters can be a powerful tool in helping people to understand a complex or difficult subject such as macular degeneration. Mac is an endearing character to look at and we use a lightness of touch in his performance that isn’t frightening but clearly explains the issues. He seems benign and happy to start with, but then as the condition worsens we understand the symptoms that sufferers will recognise and other people can empathise with.”
More than 600,000 people in the UK and over 2 million Americans are affected by AMD. The condition causes damage to the macula, which is part of the retina at the back of the eye. It is only the size of a grain of rice but is responsible for all of our central vision, most of our colour vision and the fine detail of what we see.