‘Child friendly’ and ‘funny’ were not adjectives one would have associated with the McLaren team of old, but the outfit has undergone a revolution of sorts in recent years, not least of which is its latest foray into the world of animation.
It’s launched a CGI animated series called Tooned, with the aim of building a greater fan engagement and brand loyalty, particularly focusing on the younger demographic. It made its debut on SKY F1 during the British Grand Prix weekend.
Tooned focuses on the adventures of McLaren’s two world champion drivers, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, who both voice their own characters. The team has also employed the voice-acting skills of British comedian Alexander Armstrong, who plays the role of Professor M, whose role in the team is to design the cars the boys will go racing with.
McLaren’s move into the world of animation of a joint-venture with the Oscar-winning Framestore animation studio, and it looks like it will work a treat.
The brief was simple: Framestore had to create content featuring McLaren’s two drivers, which must be funny, have the potential for a long-term run, be adaptable to McLaren’s fanbase worldwide and give exposure to the team’s commercial partners.
Having signed a twelve-episode run (with each episode being three minutes in length), the writers got to work a created a series of storylines, with Hamilton, Button and Armstrong encouraged to ad-lib and improvise their lines in the voice recording sessions.
Take a look at the first episode:
As you’ll see, this is a very clever concept and it fulfils the brief perfectly, in addition to serving as a great magnet for drawing children into the world of motorsport, a task that Formula 1 has been slow to pick up on.