Monday, July 7, 2008

Breaking into the African animation market

The use of animation in advertising is still rare in many African countries outside of South Africa. Two major African brands recently turned to Cape Town-based animation studio, Triggerfish, to produce their animated commercials.

Cape Town animation studios, Triggerfish, have just completed two spots for Tura, a major soap brand in Nigeria. Tura is the market leader in skin and hair care products throughout Africa. For the launch of their new brand of soap, a brave decision was made to create an MTV-style music video featuring a family of dancing soaps. One of the major challenges facing the Triggerfish animation team was to recreate the signature Yahoozee dance movements that Nigerian audiences would recognise and with which they would identify.

The first spot introduces the four distinct characters of the Tura Supremes as the soap family is known. Using their long-lasting freshness, they overcome other soap brands (portrayed here as deadly zombies). The second spot which will released in February, presents the Tura Supremes as the kings of their convenience store riding around in their bling-covered car, bopping their heads to the funky Nigerian beat.

Besides the animation challenges of bringing a family of dancing soaps to life (remaining true to the Nigerian Yahoozee style) there were a number of technical challenges too. These included the time consuming render of complex scenes featuring the 4 characters dancing on a reflective stage covered in bubbles, surrounded by exploding fireworks, cheering fans and a number of other elements.

This work for Nigeria comes after Triggerfish produced four spots for Safaricom, Kenya's leading cellular network last year. Safaricom is the fastest growing branch of the Vodaphone group and the initial commercials were so well received that Triggerfish was approached again - this time for a print campaign where a SMS envelope character had to be designed in various 3D poses.


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