Aardman short helps raise awareness of macular degeneration

        Category: Blog Topical | Article posted on: May 6, 2016

Creative agency Caroline has enlisted the help of the Aardman animation studio to bring to life the star of its latest charity marketing campaign – a character called ‘Mac’.

Mac was created by the team at Caroline to spearhead a campaign for The Macular Society, a small charity that supports people with central vision loss.

The campaign will raise awareness of a little known eye condition called Age-related Macular Degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in the UK.

Keen to carve out a place for the campaign in the competitive charity sector, the agency approached Aardman, also based in Bristol, to see if they would be willing to help design the character and create a short animation involving Mac to help launch the campaign.

Aardman agreed to come on board and the film was completed by end of February.

MacInsideEye Wobbly1 Gloria Mac_Grandchildren Mac_sickAndy Purnell, joint Creative Director at Caroline says: “The Macular Society is a (by charity definitions we’re medium) small and relatively unknown charity, but they are doing some amazing work to help support people suffering from vision loss, primarily those with AMD, a condition that is becoming more and more common in our society as we all live longer.”

Purnell added: “Charity advertising is not easy – it is a very, very crowded market. With a small budget we wanted to do something that would make us stand out from the crowd.”

“We came up with Mac, an engaging character that would help bring a complex issue to life and we were delighted that Aardman agreed to come on board to ‘bring him to life’.”

The short film, directed by Bram Ttwheam, chronicles the part Mac plays in giving Gloria, his elderly ‘owner’ a wonderful and active life, of which vision is key to. Sadly, Mac succumbs to AMD, and poor Gloria’s full and varied life is severely affected, as, of course, is Mac.

It will be used alongside a number of other activities, including road shows, events, materials and additional channel activity to raise awareness of the condition of AMD and the essential role the Macular Society plays in helping sufferers and funding research to find a cure for AMD. The campaign will also be appealing for donations to help the Macular Society in its vital work, and to increase membership.

Heather Wright, Executive Producer and Head of Partner Content, Aardman

“We love making films for charities like this one for the Macular Society, because it gives us the opportunity to use our creativity in a meaningful way beyond simply entertaining.

Animated characters can be a powerful tool in helping people to understand a complex or difficult subject such as macular degeneration. Mac is an endearing character to look at and we use a lightness of touch in his performance that isn’t frightening but clearly explains the issues. He seems benign and happy to start with, but then as the condition worsens we understand the symptoms that sufferers will recognise and other people can empathise with.”

More than 600,000 people in the UK are affected by AMD. The condition causes damage to the macula, which is part of the retina at the back of the eye. It is only the size of a grain of rice but is responsible for all of our central vision, most of our colour vision and the fine detail of what we see.

About The Macular Society
With over 22,000 members the Macular Society is the voice of people with macular conditions. It provides free information and support to improve lives and ensure no one has to face macular disease alone. There are around 300 Macular Society support groups around the UK and beyond. It also funds research into macular disease.

About Caroline
Caroline is a creative company, founded by experienced people with bags of awards for effective creative thinking. Caroline is part of a group of creative companies under the umbrella of the Blue Flint Group. www.hellocaroline.co.uk

Watch the film: https://vimeo.com/164249629 (Gloria’s Mac)