The Best Work You May Never See: Aardman, The Hive Build Dammy, Tell Cautionary Tale For Ontario Power Generation
Catching “the big one” is the dream of every fisherman. Whether novice or pro, those in search of a prize catch will often to go great lengths. For Dammy, an eager little beaver with a big love of fishing, finding the “right spot” could cost him his life.
Created by Toronto-based agency The Hive, Dammy is the mascot of a new campaign from Ontario Power Generation, which casts a slightly different spin on the classic fish tale. In “Stay Clear, Stay Safe”--a fable told in campfire song, directed by Magdalena Osinska of Aardman Animations--Dammy spends his life in search of a big fish. As he grows from kit to a grown beaver, it seems like he’ll never make his catch--until one day he spies the perfect fish leaping from the water. The only problem is that it’s precariously close to a hydro dam. Ignoring the warning sign, Dammy sets off to make his catch and his story takes a potentially deadly turn. The song ends with the cautionary line “Lots of fish there will always be...but just one you and just one me.”
Ontario Power Generation’s goal is to promote safety and create awareness around the dangers of fishing and swimming too close to hydro dams and stations. Aimed at anglers, cottagers, water enthusiasts, and people who might discount the severity of risk, the campaign uses winsome animation, rustic appeal and nostalgia to make a connection. And if Dammy reminds you of another safety spokes-animal, the connection is intentional: Dammy was inspired by the image of Smokey the Bear, the classic fire-safety figure.
Meghan Kraemer, associate creative director at The Hive, said creating a folksy and nostalgic character like Dammy allowed the agency to communicate a serious message in a relatable and charming way. “By telling this story in song, we were able to take a deadly topic and make it seem like a story you’d tell your kids around the campfire.”
Client Ontario Power Generation Agency The Hive, Toronto Simon Creet, chief creative officer; Meghan Kraemar, associate creative director/writer/art director; Steven Preisman, writer; Kirsten White, Sumit Ajwani, producers. Animation Production Aardman Animations, Bristol, UK Magdalena Osinska, director; Sami Goddard, producer; David Sproxton, DP; Adam Cook, focus puller & motion control; Felicie Haymoz, character design; Matthew Walker, storyboard artist; Gregor Forster, Henry St. Leger, concept art; Darren Thomson, Katarzyna Okoniewska, Adam Watts, stop frame animators; Sam Holland, rigger; Magnostone, set build & props; Helen Javes, Claire Baker, Rachel Bennett, set dressers; Sylwia Nowak @ The Puppetmaker, puppet producer in cooperation with Justyna Rucinska, Anna Mroczek, Wojciech Leszczynski; Ewa Maliszewska; Iza Ambroziak; Marcin Zelewski, Maciej Mastalerz, Wojciech Sankiewiczin, puppet artists; Paule Quinton, supervising compositor & grade; Spencer Cross, Graeme Eglin, compositors; Dominic Pitt, Dan Williamson, editors; Jean-Marc Petsas, music editing; Nat Sale, gaffer. (Toolbox: Dragronframe 4, Nuke, Premier) Audio Apollo Studios Ken Whiteley, singer/songwriter