We were commissioned by Sony Europe to produce a 24-part original online animation series to be broadcast weekly and exclusively on the MySony magazine website over a period of 6-months. The intention was the 30-second stories should increase site traffic and encourage customer registration.
What we did
We conceived, scripted and created a series entitled ‘Trona’, which stars five characters who represent five distinct emotional characteristics. As well as an emotional characteristic each “Tronite” represents a unique selling point associated with Sony products that supports the strength of the brand: optimism, playfulness, ingenuity, exploration and inspiration.
Our biggest challenge was being able to complete 30 seconds of animation a week, breaking the boundaries of online animation production. We worked closely with the MySony team and that helped immensely as scripts often had to be adapted last minute to feature new product releases for agile marketing. We delivered 1 episode a week for 24 weeks (plus a 1 one-off special), scripts were approved on a Monday, and then the final rendered episode delivered the following Monday. During the week we also had storyboards, new prop and product builds, animatics and playblasts approved.
Using our extensive experience in animated series production we considered the most practical approach to maintaining the production schedule, we devised a pipeline that allowed for a high-quality production whilst ensuring we met the delivery schedule. We devised a number of bespoke user-interface (UI) tools, which sped up the production allowing the re-use of walk cycles, character gestures and expressions. This allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the animation and storytelling.
The animation had 200,000 viewers weekly (pre-YouTube) and the average viewing time lasted 6 min. The series was so successful that it was rolled out to a further 20 countries on top of the initial 5 – UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
As the series used animation with no sound to get the message across, there was no need for scripts to be translated or multiple voice-overs to be recorded. So it provided a highly cost effective marketing opportunity for Sony to roll out the series across many other countries.