The animated adventures of Jaffa!

Posted on Friday, October 28th, 2016 by

Hi all! 

How’s it going? 

I’ve been a busy Outlooker for over 6 months now and figured my first blog is long overdue!

For me, the best part of Producing is working with both clients and skilled members of the Outlook team to develop creative content.  I thought I’d talk you through the heads at work on the newest in-store campaign for Kwik Fit:

Jaffa and I go way back…
To my first day on-set with Outlook. This mischievous hamster has featured in a TV advert, requiring rescue from the inner workings of his owner’s car. As well as his own in-store game show: Jaffa’s Wheel of Deals 

The brief

Having effectively established Jaffa in Kwik Fit’s promotional material, Marketing Manager Jenna Mistry set us the task of developing and creating a video that kept Jaffa as the face of this new campaign. The deal was confirmed to cover a range of Kwik Fit services and reward customers for replacing their tyres in advance of the winter season. They had designed icons to clearly show the benefits of each discount and already had the catchy new title: Jaffa’s Jackpot.

With a title, brief and lovable adventurer, the wheels began to turn (no pun intended!). We felt it was about time Jaffa had his own arcade game!


Creative development

Between Darren, our Creative Lead, and myself, we wanted to keep the visuals lighthearted and fun. As our resident video game expert, Darren supported me in the creative development for the level and scripting:

‘It’s popular, classic culture! The style connects the Kwik Fit customer to lighthearted nostalgia that kids today still recognise.’

The challenge in the creative is to always keep the message grounded and focused. Darren adds:

‘The location of the game made most sense to take place in a Kwik Fit Centre. We toyed with creating Jaffa’s levels within the inner workings of his owner’s car but felt this was too abstract. It also made most sense to see Jaffa collect tyres; much like the promotion’s rewards and offers. With help from nostalgic arcade sound effects, we kept the voice-over matter of fact to keep the offer in focus.’

Digital design

It was fun to see the designs take shape! Our Designer Pete spent time building the gaming world and icons for Jaffa to interact with:

‘We wanted each centre ‘level’ to be different.  Once the designs were made, they were pixellated to fit an arcade gaming style. The car was a particularly tricky balance – you need enough detail to know it’s a car, without distracting you from Jaffa!’


16-bit motion graphics

Thanks to Pete’s design support, Duncan, our Lead Motion Graphics Designer, could start bringing life to the game and, most importantly, the hamster.  Duncan explained:

‘It’s traditional frame-by-frame animation, in a sense. I drew 7 positions for Jaffa’s movement and looped them together. We were intentionally looking for that line between good and bad… well, dated should we say!’


We wanted to keep Jaffa adorable in 16-bit design, so went for a more rounded design with his hands and feet. But this needed development:

‘Well he was “Bear Jaffa” at first… so we went back to exaggerate his hamster features. He also put on a bit of weight…’

‘I used After Effects for both the 2D animation and compositing of the first shot. The tricky part was blending the square 4:3 arcade machine screen to replace the 16:9 machine screen and keeping it retro. All before adding a green screen hamster!’

The result

A fun, upbeat promotional video that can be seen in Kwik Fit Centres across the UK and Northern Ireland this season.

People seem to be responding positively to the content and style. Not to mention a happy Producer and a great example of the vast skillset within Outlook.

Cheers Team! Cheers Jaffa!