Ad of the Day: This Superb Stop-Motion Film Pleads Heartbreakingly for Wildlife Conservation

DDB's masterful work for the WCFF

Headshot of Angela Natividad

There are things we just don't see—remote places under the sea, in the savannah or covered in snow, whose joys, dramas and tragedies we aren't privy to. And yet we affect them. 

In "Dream," a beautiful stop-animation video by DDB New York for the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, four animals facing extinction tell their stories through the words of "I Dreamed a Dream"—a song you'll recognize if you're a Les Misérables fan. 

The animals appear, majestic and undisturbed, in their natural habitats. The drama begins when a sinister group of men arrive, their battered ship piercing through the darkness. They're scary, twisted figures. Unlike the warm, living faces of the animals, their eyes transmit an eerily commercial luminosity that matches the lights of their cars and ships. 

It all goes downhill from there. The ending constricts the heart, and reminds us that our comforts come at a painfully parasitic cost. 

Since "The Scarecrow," we've rarely seen a standalone piece of animated brand work this strong, though it clearly owes an inspirational debt to that Chipotle ad, which came out three years ago.

Beautifully brought to life by production company Zombie Studio, the video includes guest vocalists Natalie Bergman (who plays the rhino), Ryan Merchant (the whale), Keenan O'Meara (the pelican) and Tal Fisher Altman (the seal), whose wrenching close does lots of emotional heavy lifting. 

The Wildlife Conservation Film Festival takes place from Oct. 17-23 at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater in New York. You can buy a festival pass for $175, or individual "Film Series" tickets for $18 in advance or $25 at the door.

The goal of the WCFF is to develop public awareness programs to teach people about global biodiversity protection. "Dream," created pro-bono for the campaign, will run online, in social and at WCFF events before, during and after the festival.


Client: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF)
Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S. – Founder & CEO

Agency – DDB New York
Chief Creative Officer – Icaro Doria
Creative Director – Thiago Carvalho
Head of Art / Creative Director – Bruno Oppido
ACD (Art Director) – Guilherme Rácz
ACD (Copywriter) – Lucas Casão
Head of Production – Ed Zazzera
Senior Producer – Amanda Van Caneghem
Senior Account Executive – Matthew Leach
Music/Talent Manager – Linda Bres

Music & Sound Design
"I Dreamed A Dream" by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Jean-Marc Natel and Herbert Kretzmer
Music, Sound Design and Final Mix by Mophonics

Animation Production: 
Directed by Zombie Studio
Executive Producers: Natália Gouvea, Paulo Garcia

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.