OOH and AAH are two firework-breathing dragons who are the stars of the new British Fireworks Association (BFA) film. Let’s take a behind the scenes look at how they were created…

Question: How do you create a social animated film that aims to teach children how to use fireworks safely and responsibly?

Answer: Turn yourself into dragons.

That’s what two Sharpies did when the SHARP Agency was commissioned by the British Fireworks Association (BFA) to create an animated film to be shared across social channels, as well as in partnership with schools and third-party businesses.

They say always put a bit of yourself into your work. For this project, we took that to heart and turned ourselves into characters that could bring to life the key tenets of the firework code.

OOH vs Alex

Occupation: Firework breathing dragon VS Senior Copywriter

Appearance: Big, lanky and blue VS Big, lanky and blue (moody)

Personality: Wise. Responsible. Mature. VS Likes to think he's wise. Responsible. Mature. Isn't.

Goal: Teach AAH to be responsible VS Teach everyone how to spell proplee.

 

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AAH vs Adam

Occupation: Firework breathing dragon in training VS Senior Art Director, cyclist in training (still uses stabilsers)

Appearance: Ginger VS Very ginger

Personality: Excitable. Impulsive. Fuelled by mischief. VS Fuelled by caffeine.

Goal: Be more responsible VS Be more ginger

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Bringing OOH and AAH to life

Just like the best creative partnerships are chalk and cheese, so is using two very different characters to bring to life important lessons about firework safety. That was our excuse, anyway.

Once we had their personalities sorted, the next task was to design them. The two characters of OOH and AAH began life as very rough sketches, whose appearance changed over multiple development stages. For example, OOH started life quite round and soft looking, before we added a bit of edge to the appearance to more appeal to older children.

 

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Finding the core message

The takeaway message of the film was fundamental to its success and fulfilling the requirements of the brief.

Over the last three years, there have been three separate parliamentary debates about banning the sale and/or use of fireworks because of their impact on animals, the environment and inconsiderate usage.

So it was vitally important that this film demonstrated how the BFA were taking steps to promote safe and considerate use of home fireworks.

There were three parts to the firework code that were essential to communicate:

  1. Consideration – informing neighbours of displays, especially if they have pets or children.
  2. Legality – make sure you only buy fireworks from licensed vendors.
  3. Safety – Ensure children are under constant adult supervision and that you never return to a lit firework.

OOH and AAH would teach these three aspects through three separate scenes – AAH doing something daft and OOH showing the right way to do it.

But what about the takeaway message?

 

Creating the perfect mnemonic

We all remember the public service films of our childhood because they instilled in us simple, powerful and unforgettable images and messages they have stayed with us into adulthood. I can’t remember what I did last week, but to the day I die I will always remember STOP LOOK & LISTEN.

To create a new powerful mnemonic for the next generation, we looked back on some the public service films of yesteryear.

And the common theme? They are all terrifying. Take a look at them below…

  1. Fireworks will burn your fingers off
  2. Donald (Un)Pleasance is going to drown you
  3. Miners make you an AIDS tombstone

Fortunately, the country has moved on from 1970’s post-apocalyptic Britain. What’s interesting is that even though these films were memorable, you really only remember that they were scary – not their message.

The films that had a simple, punchy line that encapsulated the campaign – these are the ones that we remember the best. These were the bar for us to meet.

  1. Look. Listen. Live.
  2. Clunk. Click. Every trip. (Oh god, it’s Jimmy Saville, sorry…)
  3. Charley says…

So for our new fireworks safety film, we created a mnemonic that could encapsulate our three core messages:

 

THINK. CHECK. RESPECT.

When using fireworks.

 

Take a look at our final film below. Hopefully your kids well remember it when they’re your age…

 


Picture of Alex Allston, Senior Copywriter at The Sharp Agency

Alex Allston

Senior Copywriter