Aardman and OMD UK create Pantosaurus to highlight the importance of talking to children about sexual abuse
Pantosaurus, the latest instalment of the NSPCC’s ‘Pants’ campaign, is a two-minute short designed to encourage parents to talk to their children about sexual abuse.
Created by Aardman, the film enlists the help of animated dinosaurs to explain to children how to stay safe from abuse. Aimed at four to eight-year-olds, Adelphoi Music wrote lyrics and music for Pantosaurus, who delivers his message through song.
Adelphoi were briefed whilst the concept was still in development and were given directions as to what the character represented as well as the aims and goals of the campaign. The music was written by one of Adelphoi’s in-house composing team, Ashley Bates, who produced, recorded and sang the song with his children at Adelphoi’s studios.
Bates comments: “This was a sensitive brief, so it was important that the melody and tone of the composition were both fun and informative. The brief we were presented with included guidelines and key points, as well as what keywords to use or avoid. There were important messages to get across that had to be interpreted in a child-friendly way. It’s a delicate subject and we had to lighten the tone of the message, whilst striking a fine balance between conveying its importance, without making it cringe-worthy or uncomfortable.”
The campaign tackles a potentially dark and difficult subject for a target audience that is younger than NSPCC’s traditional market. Bates explains: “Ultimately, the key goal was to make it fun, despite the importance of the message. The animation and song itself are intended to be inviting as well as a starting point for adults, parents and guardians to communicate with their children about the subject, so the focus wasn’t to convey the entire message, rather to draw in audiences and lead to them reading more about the guidelines on the NSPCC website.”
Bates adds: “It isn’t an easy subject to address because it might be opening doors to something the children have never considered and they might be too young to be exposed to that concern, but it’s also important to address these in the interests of keeping them safe.”
Peter Wanless, chief executive officer of the NSPCC, comments: “We hope our new child-friendly and catchy animation will act as a conversation starter helping parents to address the topic of sexual abuse without using scary words or even mentioning sex.”
Heather Wright, executive producer at Aardman, creators of Pantosaurus and much-loved characters like Morph, Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, comments: “Humour, animation and music are a great way of making it less awkward for parents and young children to talk about this very difficult subject. The song has definite ‘earworm’ potential and I’m sure children will find it funny and memorable which will in turn give them the language they need to use to protect themselves.”
Pantosaurus will be appearing in cinemas across the UK with OMD UK striking a deal with AOL to distribute the video, targeting parents on premium platforms.
The NSPCC’s ‘Pants’ campaign has already helped over 400,000 parents talk to their children about sexual abuse since it launched three years ago.