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HomeCraftsAnimationDDB Chicago and Thornberg & Forester Deliver the "Gift of Togetherness"

DDB Chicago and Thornberg & Forester Deliver the “Gift of Togetherness”


“Gift of Togetherness” (Images courtesy of Thornberg & Forester).

With the ambitious goal of raising $1 million by Dec. 31, Ronald McDonald House Charities, (RMHC) recently launched a campaign employing innovative multimedia strategies to unite people around its cause, help them understand the impact its family-centered programs have on improving the health and wellbeing of children and compel them to donate. The campaign’s cross-media elements from DDB Chicago debuted across America this month, including an animated :60 spot the agency created in partnership with design and digital production company Thornberg & Forester(T&F).

The campaign spot conveys the difficult story of a terrible car accident that changed one family’s world forever. Compelled onward through the narrative by a moving red ribbon that represents RMHC, the hard-hitting spot invites donors and supporters to “Give the Gift of Togetherness” to help the charity keep families together when their lives fall apart.

The red ribbon also appears in all campaign elements including on the Charity’s website at, encouraging visitors to learn more about its mission, meet some of the families supported by RMHC and understand the significant impact their contribution has on children’s health and wellbeing. “The thought behind the campaign is a simple one – that when you least expect it, your world can very quickly unravel,” said Alex Braxton, creative director at DDB Chicago.  “And that’s when RMHC so often comes to the aid of families across the country.”

For T&F, the project was led by co-founder, principal and director Scott Matz. His team included art director/designer Kyle Miller, designers Kyle Hurley and Frank Pichel and animators Jorge Peschiera, Joe Lawrence, Mike Burgoyne and Ken Krueger.

“Our friends at DDB Chicago conceived a very thoughtful campaign to elegantly connect images and textures that manifest in sync with the audio story,” said Matz. “The ribbon ultimately wraps a special gift, initiating a call-to-action to support Ronald McDonald House Charities by inviting donations… and to get there, we follow Erin Maley’s powerful testimonial.”

“To support the fluid nature of Erin’s story, we designed smart, simple graphics (some metaphorical) and fluid transitions,” he continued. “We distilled and refined our storyboards until the graphic language and tone were perfect.  We also did a great deal of ‘ribbon R&D’ to compare 2D versus 3D solutions, textures, other physical properties and motion dynamics. Ultimately, our goal was to tell the story in a seamless and clever way, as if the graphics were filmed in-camera as one, continuous journey.”

Upon approval of the final storyboards, T&F animator and compositor Peschiera took on the role of lead animator, dividing 2D and 3D responsibilities between two teams and uniting the end results. T&F artists working in Maxon Cinema 4D exported their 3D cameras into Adobe After Effects.

As the deadline for the spot’s delivery and debut arrived, T&F’s team in New York City faced a considerable challenge – Hurricane Sandy. Despite having no power in NY, Peschiera and T&F producer Kelsey Thomson put in a great deal of extra effort and pulled out all the stops to keep in contact with DDB and deliver the custom :30 version on time.

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