Ogilvy Mumbai won a Grand Prix in the Integrated Campaign category, while Nirvana Films, Bangalore won the other Grand Prix in the Film Craft category.
The ads, which promote Vodafone's value-added services, were directed by Cannes winner Prakash Varma for broadcast during the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.
The 30 commercials were released one per day for the duration of the month-long event. An unprecedented sensation across India, the campaign received widespread television coverage, was a social media phenomenon, and made headlines in India's national newspapers. The ads now have over six million views on YouTube.
The simple but cute Vodafone ads feature characters called the ZooZoos, which appear animated but are actually people in bodysuits.
Ian Chuter, executive producer and post-production director, says, "These films blurred the line between live action and animation, with even industry experts claiming during the first week of their release that it was animation, when in fact every set, prop and character was shot in-camera."
Platypus Productions handled all the logistical elements of the pre-production and production process, including the casting of all the on and off camera talent. They also completed all the post-production and graphic design in-house.
Ian says, "The most exciting part of this project is that it was completely original. With these films there was no frame of reference; a whole new world and way of thinking had to be conceptualised, designed and physically created, from the largest set to the smallest prop, in a very short timeframe of about three weeks. The line between success and failure was thin, because if any element of the production was unconvincing, the films would fall flat."
The films were edited by Ian Chuter, with graphic design done in house at Platypus. Other South African talent involved included art director Sally White, director of photography Vicci Turpin, and The Workroom's Stephen Webster.
Ian says, "It is great that the local film industry has played such a huge role in this success story. The Grand Prix for film craft is the greatest testament to this, because this craft is all South African."
Nirvana's producer Mekala Krishnaswamy adds, "Over the years, we have had the opportunity to work with varied producers and production companies overseas. But if I had to pick my most memorable and rewarding experience so far, it would have to be our association with Platypus. The belief, passion and ownership that they exude on a job is commendable. The best way to describe them is as an extremely well-knit unit that functions with utmost professionalism and delivers the finest product possible in the most charming way."
The project was so successful that Nirvana Films and Platypus Productions did it all over again, completing 2010 and 2011 campaigns together.
Prakash concludes, "My association with Platypus as a production company and Ian as producer have both been an absolute pleasure. Ian is extremely involved and hands on - he owns the job just as much as you do, as the director. The most amazing thing is that there's a solution to every problem and there's a lot of positive energy. It has been an unforgettable and fantastic experience. I can't wait to go back and shoot a film with Platypus in Cape Town soon."ABOUT PLATYPUS PRODUCTIONS
Founded in 1992, Platypus Productions is one of most established commercial production companies in South Africa, but is enjoying a new lease on life since their Vodafone Zoo Zoo campaign became a global phenomenon.
Representing directors Ian Chuter, Prakash Varma, Vicci Turpin, Michael Buckley, Fiona Macpherson, and Renee van Reenen, Platypus offers a full-service creative solution for any board, from production to postproduction.