Born Free - Creature Discomforts: life in lockdown.

Helping to save wild animals from a lifetime in lockdown.

How we used people’s experiences of lockdown to highlight the lives of wild animal forced to live under lock and key.

Capturing the nation’s fears

Many animals in zoos, circuses and dolphinarias suffer every day. They’re trapped thousands of miles from their natural habitats, stripped of a life in the wild and locked up for life. Born Free help to rescue vulnerable animals from these conditions and campaign to raise awareness of the animal’s plight.

During the peak of lockdown, most of us experienced being locked up against our will for the very first time. It occurred to us that this is what it must be like for the thousands of wild animals that are being kept captive for the rest of their lives.

Life in lockdown

In partnership with Aardman Animations, the world-famous animation studio, we created Creature Discomforts: Life in Lockdown. Creature Discomforts plays on the much-loved Creature Comforts construct and uses real interviews of people’s experiences of temporary lockdown to tell stories of wild animals forced to live under lock and key in zoos, circuses and dolphinarias.

Born in captivity

The entire project was created in lockdown. From concept to production to delivery – we’ve never met anybody at Aardman, other than on Zoom! We started by interviewing friends and family across the nation about their experience of lockdown. We didn’t tell them how their voices would be used until after the interview – ensuring they were truly honest about how they were feeling.

Next we designed characters with looks and personalities to match the voices. And we used backgrounds that reflected the harsh conditions thousands of wild animals live in. Once both of those aspects were in place, we started creating our 2D animation.

Millions of views within days

The film achieved millions of views across all platforms in just days and was shared by BBC News, Ricky Gervais, Greta Thunberg and even Tiger King’s Carole Baskin. The film also garnered 38 pieces of trade press, including The Directory & Campaign , AdAge’s ‘Editor’s Pick’, AdAge Creativity's 'Top 5 campaigns on Creativity this week', Campaign’s ‘Ad of the Day’, LBB’s ‘Work of the Week’, Ad Association ‘Ad of the Week’ and Creativebrief’s ‘Hot Pick’. But most importantly, the film changed many people’s perspective on animal captivity forever.