McLaren recently partnered with Framestore to mark the F1 brand’s 50th anniversary on Sept. 2 with a second series of McLaren’s Tooned. The first episode launched June 30, on Sky Sports before the British Grand Prix at Silvestone.
Tooned 50 retells the history of McLaren’s cars and the champions who drove them, along with tales of wild excess, intense competition and young talent. Drawing on the brand’s rich heritage, Tooned 50 digitally recreates key historic drivers such as Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Mika Häkkinen. The series also introduces a new character – a mysterious old mechanic, voiced by Hollywood actor, Brian Cox – and features guest appearances from F1 legends such as Murray Walker, alongside Tooned’s original cast of Jensen Button, Sergio Perez and Professor M (as voiced by Alexander Armstrong).
Tooned 50 comprises eight three-minute episodes that are to be rolled out across Sky and digital channels throughout the year, with each new episode’s launch coinciding with key F1 races. The episodes will then be compiled to form a 30-minute film that can be broadcast.
The idea for Tooned 50 was devised by McLaren’s creative content partner, Framestore. Framestore also helmed the CG production and drew on cult TV comedy talent: writers/directors Chris Waitt and Henry Trotter (A Complete History of My Sexual Failures, Fur TV and J-Factory).
McLaren decided to commission a second series of Tooned because the original 2012 series exceeded all expectations when it came to generating social buzz and rare F1 access to youth and family demographics.
“Our first series of Tooned, which ran in 2012, exceeded all expectations,” McLaren Group’s brand director, John Allert, explained. “Tooned broadened exposure of our drivers and humanized them to younger audiences. In fact, the series gave us valuable access to youth and family demographics: something that’s unusual for the sector.
“Tooned became the UK’s top trend on Twitter in September 2012 and this success was replicated on YouTube where Tooned received more than two million views. And the merchandising opportunities have been similarly outstanding.”
“Framestore’s high-end approach has built a property that feels more like genuine entertainment, rather than marketing content,” Allert continued. “And that is why the series has engaged far beyond our core audience of avid F1 fans.”
“Using a high-end CG route means we can tap into McLaren’s impressive heritage whilst recreating its legends in a contemporary way that engages youth audiences,” Framestore’s executive producer, Simon Whalley. “This quality approach also means that the content feels more like watching a credible TV comedy series, so the marketing messages get baked-in in an engaging but unobtrusive way.”