Appointment to View: How the AA made its own horror film trailer

McCann London took inspiration from horror movies for its recent campaign for the AA's Home Emergency Response service, showing a suburban family under attack from Jack Frost. We take a look at how it was conceived and made.

Filmed in a house in Putney and with inspiration from horror films such as 'The Blair Witch Project' and 'Paranormal Activity', the AA’s new ad was shot on a digital 16mm lens camera in just 12 hours.

The film introduces the demonic 'Jack Frost', who spreads cold throughout a family home, resulting in a little boy appearing to be almost freezing to death.

The ice effect used throughout the ad was created with various special effects. The process started with a series of digital "organic mattes" that would creep along a surface like ice forming. These were then combined with layers of ice textures and further effects.

Additional work included a large amount of rotoscoping and grading, which are editing techniques that are used to blend the visual effects with the footage. The special effects were created using Adobe AfterEffects.

Director Matthias Hoene said: "What we were really keen on was to make a trailer that sort of ticks all the boxes that you would expect from a horror film, but also deliver some visuals and some ideas that make you kind of sit up and go 'I haven't seen this before in a film'."

With no AA branding, the ad aims to lead the viewer into believing it is a trailer for a new horror film. At the end of the ad, an AA engineer appears to fix the family boiler.

Matt Crabtree, creative director at McCann, said: "I think picking the horror film genre and putting three people through the potential of what a house would be like without heating, puts people through the horror themselves."

The full three-and-a-half-minute film can be viewed at Users will then be redirected to The AA's website where, for each policy sold, the AA has pledged to donate £20 to Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity.

Watch the full ad below and see the full credits in Campaign Work:

You have

[DAYS_LEFT] Days left

of your free trial

Subscribe now

Subscribe to Campaign from just £57 per quarter

Includes the weekly magazine and quarterly Campaign IQ, plus unrestricted online access.


Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

1 Why your iPhone is killing your creativity

Every day, the insatiable parasite that is your smartphone makes you worse at your job, writes a group creative director at Ogilvy.

Case study: How 'This girl can' got 1.6 million women exercising

1 Case study: How 'This girl can' got 1.6 million women exercising

"This girl can" was based on a powerful insight: that the fear of judgement by others is the primary barrier holding women back from participating in sport.

Just published