MPC LONDON, London / VIRGIN / 2020
Write a short summary of what happens in the film
The 60-second spot, which is set to Jo Cocker and Jennifer Warnes’ iconic tune ‘Up Where We Belong’, follows Wiggy the toupee, an unconventional lead character that rediscovers how amazing flying is, and the joy of seeing the big, wide world on his way to the family’s holiday destination. In the spot, a gust of wind sends Wiggy on an adventure through different parts of Australia, passing people along the way, before returning back to its owner.
Cultural / Context information for the jury
Virgin Australia have had their colleagues as the face of the brand for years, however they wanted to change things up, and show a more humorous and personal side of the business. That's where Wiggy the Toupee comes in.
Tell the jury about the visual effects and summarise any relevant challenges or techniques.
To achieve the final look there was a lot of testing involved, such as playing with the balance of hair stiffness. The toupee was created entirely in Houdini using proprietary grooming and simulation tools, which meant that the grooming, simulation and rendering was in one software package, allowing for quicker iterations and more efficient workflows.
You’d think that the biggest challenge on this spot was simulating long hair, but designing a character without legs, arms or a face, from a bunch of hairs that the audience would engage with, and that we could insert into the real world, was the true challenge. We started by creating character design sheets that would outline what the toupee would be able to do. We even explored dynamic animated poses of how the toupee could roll itself up to do a barrel roll or playfully dive through clouds.
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