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Pokies Parasite

Client: MONA
Agency: Alex Wadelton
Animation Type: 3D, Motion Graphics

"The Pokies Parasite is sucking Tassie dry"

In its campaign for the 2018 Tasmanian Election, Bad Bets Australia ran with the slogan 'The Pokies Parasite is Sucking Tassie Dry - Use Your Vote to Squash It'.

Working alongside MONA and Alex Wadelton (Project Copywriter), we visualised this sentiment as accurately as possible by designing a living, breathing ‘pokies parasite’ that haunted Tasmanian neighbourhoods at night.

Additional elements of the animation such as the texturing and lighting not only facilitated a more sinister mood, but also helped with the tight deadline.


Lighting and style tell the story

“The team created a story where light represented money – the parasite’s prey,” Jumbla Producer Natalie Studdert said. “The pokies parasite quite literally sucks the light out of the low socio-economic areas of Tasmania.”

This called for a dark and desolate environment, which afforded an ominous tone while highlighting the importance of light.

“The scene where the bug sucks the life/light out of the ‘Pristine Tassie’ poster was a key visual to explicitly sum up the message of the campaign,” Jumbla Creative Director Oz Smith said.

The ad takes on a classic horror/thriller look and storyline, slowly revealing the parasite to add to the suspense. For the style, Oz cited b movies, retro thrillers, 80s horror films, and even Hollywood blockbusters like Terminator 2 and Superman among his influences.


Hitting home with realistic renders

For added authenticity, nearly every aspect of the location, from the homes to the bus stops, was based on suburban Tasmania.

“Along with references supplied by the client, we also looked on Google Maps to get a feel for the area,” said Oz. “We ended up modelling most of it ourselves.”

This is where our decision to adopt a brooding aesthetic paid dividends…

“The dark scenes were more forgiving when it came to the fast turnaround,” Natalie said. “We were able to mask sections of the scenes and pull focus to the elements that needed more detail.”


The benefits of teamwork with little interruption

“We had a timeframe of less than two weeks from concept to delivery, so it was all hands on deck,” Natalie said. “This meant the team had to create one shot per day, which was a massive effort.”

We had two people working on the scenery, texturing, and lighting, while another person developed the parasite, which needed to look like a mosquito/poker machine hybrid.

“To keep the project moving, we sent WIPs to the client most days, which started with a basic animatic before moving onto style treatments and sketches of the parasite,” Natalie said.

“The team at MONA were incredible to work with, giving us a lot of creative freedom, which meant we could focus on the design and less on countless rounds of feedback.”

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