Social Media Marketing Video For Thomas & Friends

Aug 31st, 2016 | Project Spotlight

Things have certainly been interesting ever since our founder, Ron Fugelseth, sent Stanley the Train on a journey to space and back in 2012.

HIT Entertainment, the owner of the Thomas & Friends™ toy train brand, saw the video, along with over 5 million others, and decided to work with Rail Digital. HIT wanted to create a new marketing campaign to promote their beloved Thomas & Friends™ brand that would focus on a family summer adventure with Thomas. They specifically wanted to capture the child and toy relationship that was shown in our founder’s viral video, A Toy Train in Space, in a social media video that would highlight fun times with Thomas toys, games and movies. 

Rail jumped at the chance to have the opportunity to once again animate their key character’s face, which took a lot of motion tracking and CG work. So, following HIT’s “One Journey. Endless Destinations.” campaign theme, our team worked closely with HIT to create the visual story that would explore a family’s adventures along with an amusingly expressive Thomas the Train. One of the first challenges presented was how to film a summer vacation over 4 days in December! We took on the challenge of scouting locations that would provide the proper look despite the time of the year and timing our shooting schedule for the best atmosphere.  Our crew provided a lot of encouragement (and some candy!) when working with our child actors to maintain the sense of natural youthful playfulness with purposeful product interaction 

Playing around, and everyone helping to encourage the kids, is how we succeeded, in getting the necessary shots for the video, and got such natural reactions on camera. We even managed to add an underwater scene shot in an aquarium with “Bob the crab”, who was quickly returned to the sea after filming. The result was a fun video that shows Thomas’ adventures from a new perspective. 

HIT Entertainment is one of the world's leading pre-school entertainment companies, owning such beloved brands as Barney, Bob The Builder, Pingu and of course, Thomas & Friends. This project was a fun kickoff to a now 3-year relationship with HIT’s parent company, Mattel, giving us an opportunity to work with their other top brands like Barbie, Max Steel and Fisher-Price.

And as a special bonus, our founder has a unique family home movie to cherish for years.