Beyond Red | Unicorn Tears or Horse Apples
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Unicorn Tears or Horse Apples

Unicorn Tears or Horse Apples

This time last year, I was singing the praises of the 4Creative team for their superb promo for the 2014 Crabbies Grand National. Their content told a powerful origin story about the event, filled with emotion, grit, and humour.

Now, another Spring has sprung, another Cheltenham Festival has been and gone, and my thoughts are turning again to the Grand National, and all that surrounds it. Have 4Creative developed that origin narrative, and will they tell us the next chapter of that story? How have they followed last year’s success?

This year’s film tells the story of ‘The Outsider’: a unicorn foal with underdeveloped wings and a twisted horn, shunned by his peers for being different.

People love the Grand National because even ‘The Outsider’ has a chance. We wanted to dramatise this whilst at the same time blowing the whistle on all the prejudiced unicorns out there. - John Allison and Chris Bovill, Heads of 4Creative

In this fantasy world, the film’s hero strives to run faster than the unicorns can fly, but as he does so, his body is transformed. Suddenly, he bursts into the modern day, revealing himself as a natural-born racehorse running in the Crabbie’s Grand National.

It’s a charming story which, like last year’s spot, appeals even to those with no background in the sport. With its broad audience demographic, the story has to.

But, in following the revival of animation in content (following the success of Frozen), their unicorn tale comes across as cutesy; losing all the grit and determination that made their advert feel epic last year. Instead of conjuring up feelings of anticipation, excitement and power… they’ve teetered on the brink of recreating Disney’s Pegasus.

The Grand National 2014 advert was brilliant. And by comparison to that winner, this year’s runner fell at the Canal Turn. As with any good story, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.

I hope they backed the unicorn each-way.