‘We Need to Talk About Dying’ animation

Hospice New Zealand

An animation to encourage discussion around a topic not many of us choose to talk about.

Death isn’t a topic a lot of us talk about. So when Hospice New Zealand asked us to create an animation about the process of dying, as part of their ‘We Need to Talk About Dying’ campaign, we knew we had a unique job to do in communicating an important and often evaded subject. But one that is relevant to all.

Group of people – two men and a woman

From the beginning, we decided that an appropriate tone for the animation was integral. Sensitive subject matter such as this can sometimes come across as either too clinical, too saccharine, or too patronising – it was important to respect the audience as much as the message.

As the topic centres around a very personal experience we thought that the look also required a human quality. We achieved this by using hundreds of individual pencil drawings along with traditional cell animation. 

Someone speaking

While this approach is much more time consuming than digital animation, it possesses a raw quality that is difficult to achieve using entirely digital methods. The result, a unique aesthetic that uses imperfections rather than hides them – an appropriate style to accompany a message about such a human experience.

Friends and family around man in bed

The goal was to have people talk about dying and so far the animation has had over 70,000 views on social media, been shared over 600 times, and is successfully prompting many online discussions. It’s worth reading the moving comments to see how the public are responding to this animation. 

We’re proud to create such a vital piece of collateral for Hospice New Zealand’s ongoing campaign and to help spread the word that ‘We Need to Talk About Dying’. 

Hospice New Zealand feedback:

‘Thanks for doing such an amazing job with a topic many find tough. You treated the subject with dignity and respect and created a piece that many people from all walks of life are relating to. Great working with you!’

Keen to chat?

Get in touch with our team or have a look at our work to see if we’d be a good fit.