Westminster Council - Armistice Commemoration

Commemorating 100 years since the end of WW1 using the famous billboards at Piccadilly Circus.

Science

Logistics behind creating a spectacle at such scale.

Art

Creative with a commemorative filter.

Challenge

Westminster Council were given control of the famous advertising billboards in Piccadilly Circus for an hour to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One. The Council wanted to create a thought-provoking film that would be fitting to the sheer enormity of the conflict and the historical significance of the occasion. It was also important that the film paid a special tribute to those from the local area who lost their lives.

Piccadilly Circus is an extremely busy area filled with tourists, commuters, shoppers and buskers. The film had to catch people’s attention and stop them in their tracks, while always maintaining a sense of remembrance and sobriety.

Solution

We started with insight. Do you know it would take 10 days 19 hours and 4 minutes for all of the fallen to march across the screen? This statistic highlights the enormity of loss and so we made it the centrepiece of the creative idea. Throughout the hour, soldiers were continually marching across the screen, accompanied by the sound of marching boots filling the area to draw attention to the occasion.

The Piccadilly Circus boards are usually filled with colour and fast moving images. We contrasted this by creating a film in predominantly black and red block colours to slow the pace down and create an ambient light in the area. Throughout the hour, the screen went completely black a number of times, a historical event in itself as this has only been done four times in the past and so emphasises the gravitas of the centenary. We also worked with local businesses to turn off their lights to aid with the creation of a sombre atmosphere.

The marching boots were briefly interrupted by the presentation of the intimate stories of 11 local people who fought in the war. These stories brought to life the humanity of those who served and the sacrifice of local Westminster residents.

Response

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