Close-Up: How W&K's Dot broke a world record for Nokia

Nokias have already been used to save lives, now the N8 launch campaign has entered the record books.

Take me back to when I was 14 and I can still hear Roy Castle telling me that if I want to be a record breaker, "dedication's what you need".

However, my repeated attempts to cram "just one more" marshmallow into my mouth came to nothing. I also discovered that sitting in a bath full of baked beans for 73 hours isn't as easy as it looks.

But who'd have thought that 20-ish years later, I'd get another crack at a world record? Roy was right. You do need dedication. And in my case, you also need a brave Nokia client, a talented art director called Richard Dorey and a brilliant collaboration with Aardman.

It all came about as part of the launch campaign for the Nokia N8. The campaign aims to humanise tech through the thinking that "it's not technology, it's what you do with it". This manifested itself as a celebration of amazing, innovative things that have been achieved with Nokia phones.

One of the gems discovered was the CellScope. The brainchild of Professor Fletcher, it's a microscope attached to a Nokia mobile phone. Fantastically simple, yet it's helping to diagnose malaria and save lives in third-world countries. A nurse can take a blood sample in a remote village, capture the magnified cell image, then send it anywhere in the world for instant diagnosis. Genius.

We decided to try to create the world's smallest film using the same CellScope technology and shoot it all on the new N8. A worthy test for its Carl Zeiss lens and 12 megapixel capabilities.

Early stages of pencil-chewing threw up ideas such as blood cell "Pong". But then Aardman's Will Studd and Ed Patterson introduced us to the insane capabilities of 3D prototyping. Dot was born.

The ridiculous truth is that Dot was a mere 4mm tall initially. But her dinky features weren't forming properly. After a few growth spurts, which took her to 9mm, she was just about ready for her curtain call.

Just another 275 hours for wardrobe and make-up to go. Seem excessive? Maybe not when you realise that there were actually 150 Dots - 50 replacement poses, each with three stand-ins in case she broke a leg during her performance. The irony. And it saddens me to say that limbs were lost. And a head.

After days of building the epic 1.5 metre set, Dot's adventure began. And if you've seen it, you'll know that she runs for her life as her world unravels, then prevails by knitting the unravelling wave of destruction into a cosy blanket.

Not only has she helped to launch a new Nokia smartphone, conquered a menacing wave and travelled round the globe, she also holds the Guinness World Record for the "Smallest Stop-motion Animated Character in a Film".

Who knows, I might be on a roll. Something's telling me to pop to the nearest supermarket and buy a big bag of marshmallows.

Mark McCall is a creative at Wieden & Kennedy.


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