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"Planimation" "Planimation"

Once in a while, we see an animated commercial so elegant in concept and execution that we want to share it. “Planimation” is one such commercial.

The short film, which uses a hybrid of 2d and 3d, is ostensibly an advertisement for Cyramza, a drug used to treat advanced gastric cancer. But it takes an indirect approach, telling the story of a benign extraterrestrial that accidentally upsets the delicate balance of the clockwork solar system it inhabits. Watch the ad below:

The story’s symbolism works on multiple levels. It evokes the body’s subtle functions and their disruption by cancer. More to the ad’s point, it also represents the importance of planning out one’s treatment for cancer — the extraterrestrials are able to correct the mistake because they thought ahead.

As its director Yves Geleyn says, “The idea was to create a poetic metaphor to illustrate the very complex topic and importance of sequencing in gastric cancer. The main thread of the story was how a small interference can un-synchronize an entire universe, and vice versa how step-by-step changes can have a huge effect on the big picture.”

Concept art for "Planimation."
Concept art for “Planimation.”

A third analogy is contained in the ad. When Geleyn was hired to direct it, he knew little about oncology — and the doctors working with him knew little about animation. Through their collaboration, they learned that their lines of work had something in common: both require minute planning.

According to Salah-Eddin Al-Batran, an oncology expert involved with the project, “There are many similarities between creating an animated film and treating a patient. At the end of the day, you need to think about what you want to achieve and to make a plan before you start working.”

Geleyn is an experienced animation director whose work ranges across a range of media. His past clients include McDonald’s and U.K. retailer John Lewis, and he also directed a spot about children and gun violence which we featured in 2014. “Planimation” was produced by Hornet, the New York-based production studio.

Check out more concept art, full credits, and a behind-the-scenes documentary featuring Geleyn and the oncologists, on Hornet’s website.


Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Deputy Editor of Cartoon Brew.