According to Greenpeace, around half of our supermarket products contain palm oil, ranging from shampoo to chocolate. But palm oil can be produced without destroying rainforests. In fact, a decade ago, corporations like Nestle, Unilever, and Mondelez, signed global commitments to stop buying palm oil from forest destruction by 2020, but with a little over a year to go until they have to meet their pledge, they’ve done almost nothing to follow through on their promise.
“Amongst the many stupid things human beings are doing to the environment, bad palm oil deforestation sits right at the top,” says Hermeti Balarin, partner at Mother, the ad agency that developed the spot with Greenpeace. “It destroys huge areas of the rainforest as well as contributing to endanger some of our closest relatives, the orangutans who inhabit those places.”
Production on the spot was handled through London’s Passion Animation Studios. The animation, which combines hand-drawn, cg, and vr techniques, was directed by Lip Comarella and Simon Griesser at Salon Alpin, which has studios in Lisbon, Portugal, and Vienna, Austria.
Lead character animator was Borja Montoro, who has done character development on Disney’s Zootopia, Moana, and Ralph Breaks the Internet, in addition to animating on Tarzan, Hercules, and numerous other features.
Actress Emma Thompson, who is the campaign ambassador in addition to narrating the piece, says: “For too long big brands and the palm oil companies they buy from have been getting away with murder. And for too long our response to orangutans has been ‘ohhh, the poor thing’ as we’re shown photographs of them orphaned, thin and at death’s door. But change is possible – we can make it so. When Greenpeace asked me to narrate Rang-tan, I didn’t hesitate. It’s just the start of a new global campaign to tackle this problem once and for all.
Development art from the spot can be seen on Salon Alpin’s website.
Initial character development:Therese Larsson, Thibault Leclerq
Lead character animator: Borja Montoro
Character coloring: Daniel Damm, Drazen
Ink-and-paint: Laura Barić,Lea Kralj Jager, Martin Nyberg, Petra Balekic
Additional animation: Sasha Vernik, Marc Valls, Pablo Miro, Daniel Damm
Sound design: Lennert Busch
Here are some actual photos of the environmental destruction and orangutan rescues: