Canadian animation house Hatch Studios blended manga-inspired cartoon characters and a photorealistic car to create a dizzying rollercoaster ride, starring the new Ford Focus.

When agency Y&R Toronto was searching for a way to brand the Ford Focus as a fun, youthful car for its Canadian campaign, it hit on the idea of a rollercoaster.

However, the rollercoaster it had in mind was far from being a schmaltzy, candyfloss-and-balloons model: Y&R wanted something as distant from a traditional funfair atmosphere as possible.

The agency’s brief to animation house Hatch was specific on this point, demanding “some sort of fun environment” but stipulating that Hatch should “avoid the clichéd theme park imagery”.

Y&R decided the advertisement should have a strong Japanese feel, with flat planes of colour, and “graphics involving character style derived from animé and manga”, explains Richard Rosenman of Hatch, who co-directed the ad with Larissa Ulisko.

Although the background and characters had to be cartoon-like and Japanese in aesthetic, the car itself had to feel absolutely real.

“This spot relies heavily on seamless integration of cutting-edge 3D computer graphics with bold 2D character designs, both existing in a lavish and rich multi-media environment,” says Rosenman.

The finished product is an exhilarating romp set to a pumping, electro-pop soundtrack, in which a bright blue Ford Focus performs a loop-the-loop dash along rollercoaster rails, pursued by fanged, spherical assailants.

“Not only did we wish to create a visually compelling spot, but we also insisted on developing a sub-story involving aggressive and chaotic characters attempting to catch the Ford Focus,” says Rosenman.