The Royal British Legion rethinks remembrance with stunning CGI poppy advert

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Gramercy Park Studios and The Royal British Legion partner to honour Remembrance in spectacular Poppy Appeal spot. Launched on 4th November on Channel 4, the 30 second poetic advert serves as a reminder of the yearlong support The Royal British Legion provides to the Armed Forces community, made possible by donations to the Poppy Appeal.

The spot reframes The Royal British Legion in a contemporary light, demonstrating its support of the Armed Forces community past and present, as the symbolic flowers grow and blossom in a range of present-day environments.

Against a narration of the war poem In Flanders Fields, the spot shows animated poppy seedlings slowly sprout from the ground in everyday settings, symbolizing the ubiquity of the organisation and those it supports. The seeds grow gradually, cracking through the floor of a swimming pool concourse, a doctor’s clinic and café, as they bud and burst to life. The advert concludes as hundreds of poppies flourish into full bloom in a London park, reflecting the iconic Flanders field as a symbol of Remembrance.

Every intricate detail of each carefully CGI constructed flower was crafted by post production facility Gramercy Park Studios. The facility animated the entire range of growth of the plants, from bud to fully bloomed poppy. Gramercy Park Studios executed its award-winning expertise in color grading, 3D and 2D, VFX and Sound Design for the mammoth project.

On creating the spectacularly lifelike CGI animations in real settings, Matt Lowery, Head of 3D  GPS:

Using 360 HDR images of each location and references of poppies, we modelled a myriad of variations and resolutions and added the material details to bring them to life. Using a combination of hand animation and cloth simulation, we managed to create a bloom sequence that stands up to very close inspection (…)

To make the poppies look like they were there on the day, we tracked the movement of a live action camera to recreate a 3D set. We could then cast shadows on the flowers, as if they were under the chairs, or in the shadows of the real-life set.

To bring the sound of the plants to life, Head of Sound GPS, Toby Griffin, committed to a number of Foley experiments and explained the process

To create the sound of the poppies growing through floors, I used roof tiles and scraped them together in various angles. I added layers of wood creaking and debris falling to give the impression of a force below the tiles pushing them through the floor. To create a variation of sounds to experiment with, I brushed my hand across flower heads, picked the leaves off and snapped the stems, while the sound of the bud opening was created by edamame peas being popped.

The Rethink Remembrance advert was launched with five two-second teasers revealed on Channel 4 and in the Premier League Stadiums on 28th October. The full-length TVC launched on 4th November.

Gramercy Park Studios is an integrated facility born to bring ideas to life in an adaptable and creative environment. Our award-winning talent in VFX, Colour Grading, Design, Editing, Sound Design and Production sit under one roof to provide end to end services for the advertising and creative industries. We collaborate with our clients to craft campaigns across multiple platforms and disciplines, adopting an innovative and agile approach to creative and post-production processes.


  • Agency – Y&R
  • Client – The Royal British Legion
  • Production Company – Unit 9
  • Director – Cole Paviour
  • Agency Producer – Alexia Saunders
  • Junior Agency Producer – Megan O’Hagan
  • Creatives – Nina Beyers and Tom Espezel-Bentley
  • Offline edit – Unit 9
  • Post Production – Gramercy Park Studios
  • Producer – Claire Lifford
  • CGI – Matt Lowery, Mike Bonnington, Ben Parry, Quentin Darras
  • VFX – Jamie Russell
  • Shoot Supervision – Matt Lowery & Jamie Russell
  • Head of Sound/ Sound Design – Toby Griffin
  • Grade – Ben Rogers