Behind the Scenes: Lipton – Winter Smile

After seeing the initial script from Adam & Eve DDB, UNIT were keen to get involved in this project from the offset. UNIT’s Creative Director, Tom Wansbrough-Jones, put together an ‘Initial Thoughts’ deck to show the Agency where UNIT could take this idea and how it might look. There’s nothing better than showing some good ref and visuals of what the final film may look like before the project commences. 

This indeed caught the interest of the creatives, who then gave UNIT the opportunity to pitch on the project. This enabled UNIT to delve further into what certain aspects of the film might look like: camera moves, styleframes, the style of vending machine, and also some initial storyboards.

UNIT won the pitch, and then it was all go! A team of 5/6 was assembled very quickly and work commenced with detailed Storyboarding, a 3D Previs Edit, Character Designs, and also environments designs.

As each part moved forward, UNIT were constantly updating the Previs until an initial ‘work in progress’ was formed. Sound design worked alongside to help enhance the film and help show the direction of the spot, even if certain characters were not ready in the particular shots. In designing the sound for this it was important to use sonic cues that the viewer could associate with certain feelings. The sound of a cold miserable day transforming into sunshine was a moment that UNIT’s Sound Designer, Jamie Thomas, wanted to convey subconsciously to the viewer. A lot of traditional elements were used – whistling winds and slushy footsteps, as well as others such as roadworks, a bus stopping in a puddle, dogs barking – sounds you wouldn’t normally associate with the cold but that would resonate as ‘miserable’.

On the flip side, when it came to the sunshine, UNIT wanted to make it feel as if the whole world was coming alive aurally. Again, the usual suspects of birdsong and laughter were used, whilst the soundscape was filled with everything happening out of shot – a shop door bell, background conversations of passing pedestrians, children in the playground, a bicycle going past, church bells (in tune of course) – anything that could make the piece busy.

The panning and placement of all these SFX was as important as the sourcing and selecting of them – it’s no good having great SFX recordings if they’re all coming from the same place spatially, so an emphasis on the panning and EQ’ing of individual SFX was made, ensuring they each had their own space in the stereo image as well as making sure the sounds moved around within the spot to feel ‘alive’.

Once a final version of the film was produced, it was graded in Baselight to give it that extra polish. The focal part of the grade was to enhance the transition between the cold and miserable day to the moment Liptons steps forward to brighten your day, which UNIT’s Creative Director of Colour, Denny Cooper, successfully achieved. The rest of the grade was just finessing and minor adjustments which helped with the continuity of the spot, giving it that extra lift, enhancing all the necessary details in each shot. 

UNIT delivered all the post for the spot, including the 3D character design and animation, 2D, Colour and Sound. Creative Director, Tom Wansbrough-Jones, was the creative lead and comments on UNIT’s contribution to the spot:

These Lipton films were so much fun to get involved with! From pitch to final film, we created everything! We designed, rigged and animated the 3D characters. Concepted and built the environment and vending machine. Used X-particles to simulate the snow, Redshift to render to final look, and then comped it all in After Effects. Sound design was key to add depth to each shot and Grade to bring the whole film together! A great collaboration to bring together something that gives a feeling of connectivity and fun for Lipton as a brand. It was a real pleasure working with the creatives from Adam & Eve as they gave us the trust to bring our ideas to life throughout the whole process.”

Tom Wansbrough-Jones


Client: Lipton
Title: Winter Smile

Agency:  Adam & Eve DDB
Agency Producer: Rose Reynolds & Carrie Moores
Creatives: Bradley Woolf, Daniel Bailey & Jacob Grandt
Account Director: Pablo Arango
Account Manager: Henry Rycroft

2D lead: Tom Wansbrough-Jones
3D Character Design and Animation: Russ Etheridge & Milo Targett
3D Animation: Tom Wansbrough-Jones, Jeremy Djaffer & Pav Ivanoc
Colour: Denny Cooper
Sound Design: Jamie Thomas
Sound Mix: Hannah Webster
Producer: Tania De Sousa