ARE YOU LISTENING?
Throughout the second half of 2022, Amplitude worked closely with International Animal Rescue on the #AreYouListening? campaign.
The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness of the looming biodiversity crisis and of COP15, the UN Biodiversity Conference (7th – 19th December 2022).
The call to action prompted viewers to sign an open letter to world leaders urging them to take action. The letter accrued 14,000 signatures and was presented to world leaders attending COP15. The conference was widely hailed as a step forward for protecting biodiversity across the world.
DEVELOPING THE ANIMATION
AreYouListening was split into two phases. Where Phase One focused primarily on static assets, Phase Two revolved around a heart-wrenching animation. From initial concepting to release, the animation took around two months to create. What began as an on-the-fly comment about changing the lyrics of a classic nursery rhyme grew into a huge undertaking, and called on skills from across the Amplitude family.
CREATING THE CONCEPT
During a meeting to talk about possible concepts for the feature animation, one of our project managers, Lucy, came up with the idea of putting an ominous spin on ‘The Animals Went In Two By Two’.
The whole Amplitude team immediately loved this idea. The research we’d done into past campaigns by International Animal Rescue and its competitors suggested it might be a hit, and thus, ‘The Animals Died Out Two By Two” was born!
While Managing Director (Jo) got to work re-writing the lyrics and seeking out musicians, our superstar illustrator (Susan) began coming up with concepts for the illustration style and characters. Susan and Lucy created a full storyboard to give both us and IAR a taste of the finished animation’s story.
The storyboard was combined with a work-in-progress soundtrack to create an animatic. Doing this helped ensure the story would have the impact we were after. We wanted tears, and, given that half the office cried at the animatic, things were heading in the right direction.
A HAUNTING SOUNDTRACK
Key to making the animation as heart-wrenching as possible (sorry, world) was the soundtrack. Jo had written updated, ominous lyrics for ‘The Animals Went In Two By Two’, and now we needed to bring them to life.
To help us do this, we approached LA-based composer Amie Doherty (She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Spirit Untamed, The Umbrella Academy), who leapt at the chance to be part of the project. Amie created the powerful, emotional score that underpins the animation, and blew our expectations out of the water.
But we needed to find the right voice to bring the lyrics to life. Billy Lockett was top of our list, as we felt he could use his voice to give the audio the haunting quality it needed. As with Amie, Billy was thrilled to be onboard, and the pairing of his vocals with Amie’s score was perfect.
BRINGING THE ANIMALS TO LIFE
Animation and illustration worked hand-in-hand to bring the story of our animals to life. Over the course of two-and-a-half minutes, they journey from the depths of their forest habitat to the gates of COP15. Unfortunately, not all of them make it.
To make this journey a reality, we needed detailed illustrations of each animal featured, with different layers for every part of every limb. We studied animal skeletons and videos of animals walking to create and rig the illustrations, generating walk cycles that looked natural. We animated their faces too, again with fresh layers for every movable part, allowing us to give the stars of the show recognisable facial expressions.
And we can’t overlook the backgrounds. As our animals march on COP15, they journey from lush forest, through a stump-laden wasteland, to the concrete jungle. Each of these scenes is full of depth and detail, with the overall tone of the world getting more and more bleak as our animals die off.
With all of the major pieces now in place, it was on to the details. We added VFX and foley throughout to make the video feel more alive, campaign messaging, and a final scene to show that while the situation is dire, there’s still hope.
“The team at Amplitude blew us away with their enthusiasm and their “can do” attitude to making the most of our ‘COP15 – Are You Listening?’ campaign.
They were bursting with ideas on how best to develop the concept and also provided us with invaluable feedback and advice on our broader campaign strategy. Their idea of producing the ‘Two by two’ animation was absolutely inspired.
The creative talent and the energy of the Amplitude team seemed to know no bounds. They were also extremely generous in allocating so much of their time to us and producing a mountain of assets for us to use on social media when they are clearly very busy people and their time is precious.
As a wildlife and environmental conservation organization, we also love Amplitude’s ‘Planet First’ approach which chimes perfectly with our ethos at International Animal Rescue.
Everyone at Amplitude was a joy to work with – friendly and accommodating but also sensible and pragmatic when we were in danger of getting carried away. From the word go we knew we were in good hands and were confident that, if anyone could create something really remarkable for us, it would be Jo and her team. And we weren’t disappointed!”
Robin Fegan, Development Director,
International Animal Rescue