Directors Irida Zhonga and Effie Pappa’s TV ad “I Am Here,” for Klinex, introduces audiences to the company’s initiative to donate cleaning products to schools. This popular brand of cleaning products in Greece began the campaign during the country’s deep financial crisis, when research showed that a large number of kids were not using the schools’ toilets, as they felt they were not sufficiently clean.

“The concept is built around the safety and protection parents offer to the kids,” Pappa told us, “and the uncomfortable feeling of when they have to be separated for school, where they’re no longer able to attend them and make sure they are fine.” Backed by an original ballad by Irene Skylakaki, the piece is filled with vibrant scenes of parents bonding with their kids and emanates warmth.

Materials also go a long way towards conveying the heart-felt mood. “We wanted to attach parenthood and protection with the feel of warmth and softness and thus we used felt wool for the puppets,” Pappa said. “Drawing inspiration from Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels beautiful work, I used this technique previously on “Bring Nature Inside” and loved how much emotion it can bring. It’s so soft in touch and allows tiny movements on animation that bring this airy result which makes it feel like it belongs to another dimension. The world here is bright, colourful and tactile.”

The ad was the pair’s first stop motion produced in Greece (both directors were used to working in the UK), which did provide some challenges. “Stop motion in Greece is not highly developed therefore we were glad to cooperate with a great production company having a fresh vision, Takes 2 Productions. They took the initiative to propose stop motion to the agency and to the client in the first place–which we’re very glad about. In an advertising market dominated by live action commercials, we really wanted to bring the magical world inside the Greek households and make it accessible for parents and kids to watch.

“It is actually the first Greek Stop Motion TV commercial on that scale. Other challenges were to source crew in Athens and to make everything happen really fast, as it usually happens in commercials. We had our puppet maker, Adeena Grubb flying over to our studio and working closely with our local model makers and then Max Martin, the animator, who also came in from the UK to animate using Greek lip-synch (really, he can now say “Don’t worry” fluently in Greek). Working in such small scale sets was also a first-time experience for our DOP, George Kokkalis and the camera crew and they all embraced it with excitement, curiosity and dedication.”

For more on the production, check out the behind the scenes images below: