Framestore and The McLaren Group are launching McLaren Animation, with a first cgi animated production from Framestore, called Tooned, starring Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

The series of three-minute films features uses the voices of the two world champions as well as actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong. Episodes of Tooned will go out before each race on the new Sky channel.

The animations are designed to introduce a sense of humour to theMcClaren brand and widen its appeal to the family. “Creating a more demographically accessible ‘face’ for McLaren will help our brand appeal to a wider audience whilst also fostering increased brand loyalty,” says Ron Dennis, executive chairman, McLaren Group.

McLaren Marketing bypassed the traditional creative agency route by approaching Framestore directly. Framestore was then engaged to centralise the roles of creative agency, production company and VFX house, creating the series on a cost-effective budget.

Sir William Sargent, founder and ceo of Framestore, says “The films’ simplicity and quality hide an enormous commitment in time and technology from a world class team at Framestore – one that has been excited by the McLaren challenge in the same way as they have on a Harry Potter or Superman film.”

Writer-directors Chris Waitt and Henry Trotter created the scripts with input from Joel Morris and Jason Hazeley, whose credits include Ten O’Clock Live, That Mitchell and Webb Look and The Armstrong and Miller Show.

Once the basic characters had been mapped out, dialogue was laid down through voice recording sessions, director Waitt encouraging the two drivers and Armstrong to improvise and play off against each other.

The animations are designed to take advantage of the shift in family TV viewing habits and the increased influence of children on what they watch and which device they watch on. “Into that gap we’ve decided to launch a sophisticated CGI-animated series that follow a tradition established by films such as Toy Story and Wall-E, story-telling that is thematically big in scope and can be enjoyed on a number of levels, appealing to kids and parents alike,” explains John Allert, group brand director, McLaren Marketing.

Staff Reporter