MG3 Hybrid+ | The Concept and the Aura

MG3 Hybrid+ | The Concept and the Aura

Our latest TV ad for MG Motor UK launched in May this year, and since it premiered, we have been sharing some behind-the-scenes clips from the shoot. Of course, a hugely important part of the overall campaign is the ‘Feel good’ aura, which I’m going to do a deep dive into now, covering everything from the initial idea, through the R&D stages to the final visual effects treatment.

The concept

M3 attended exclusive test drives of the new MG3 Hybrid+ at Birmingham’s Longbridge facility, so we could get to grips with the car and experience its ‘Hybrid drive’. The electric torque means it's raring to go on a drive, and its technology takes away any decision-making by selecting EV or petrol driving modes for you.

The creative team focused on the fact that there is nothing like that feeling of jumping in your new car. That ‘new car’ buzz is a feeling that is hard to describe but one many of us have felt. We rationalised that the MG3 Hybrid+ had been designed to deliver a joyful drive, and putting that simply, the MG3 Hybrid+ delivers “A Feel Good that you just can’t hide.”

Our concept, which was developed by the Creative team including M3 alumni and long-standing collaborator Shaun Loynds, was to show the Feel Good ‘Aura’ that a person gives off around their MG3 Hybrid+.

The Aura is a manifestation of positive emotion and pleasure, bringing uplifting colour, vitality, energy and joy to the everyday ordinary life of our MG3 Hybrid+ driver. It is an extraordinary effect in an ordinary world, representing the growing sensation of happiness, well-being and delight we feel as we interact with and drive the MG3 Hybrid+. You can see some style board and design development for the aura below:

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Once we began collaborating with Lambda Films, I began regular huddles with Lambda’s Director Alex Morris, along with the head of VFX on our project, Max Johnson. Max is a hugely talented young man and has previously worked with brands such as Pepsi, Taylor Swift and Netflix. His enthusiasm for the project was infectious, and our regular development meetings were super collaborative. We spent hours crafting everything from the colour, texture and transparency, to how the orbs behave around people. My brief was a type of soft sheen lava lamp effect that floats weightlessly, morphing and blending with itself.’

We storyboard every shot, hand drawing where the aura appears, discussing the size and how we wanted the colour to develop throughout, starting with pinky purple tones and becoming warmer colours as Katie starts to drive the car and emit pure joy.

Max and his team then went away to develop animated mockups of how the aura behaved around our character Katie. How they emanated from her, how they sometimes followed here, sometimes floated off gently into the air.

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Following our VFX pre-production, it was time for the shoot, and Max was on hand, using a chrome and grey ball, and a colour calibration chart. He accurately gathered on-set lighting data, including light direction, intensity, shadows, and colour temperature. This data would then allow him and his team to seamlessly integrate our CGI Aura into the real footage.


Following the shoot, Max and his team set to work on recreating every shot in 3D space, whilst also cleaning up the background scenery in our shots.

The unsung hero of post-production is undoubtedly the meticulous work involved in cleaning parts of the footage. While having a shiny, clean car looks great, it presented some unique challenges for the VFX team. We had to recreate parts of the footage, removing unwanted reflections, and seamlessly stitch it back together so no one would notice.

Max worked closely with Darren Jamieson at Lambda, who headed up the editing process, on integrating the VFX into the shots. We worked with Darren to design some subtle sounds that the aura emits when radiating from Katie - listen carefully the next time you see the ad!

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On completion of the 30-second TV ad, we then turned our attention to our 60-second extended edit and 2 additional 15-second social short stories The “Mirror” story focused on the MG3 ‘checking its reflection out’ and ‘Freedom’ extended the Feel Good theme by showing an adorable dog, and his excitement at being reunited with the MG3.

I’ve worked on many TV ads involving CGI visual effects over the years, but the collaboration on this project and attention to detail has been very rewarding. In a world where automotive ads mostly favour beauty shots of the car over storytelling, credit must be given to our client, MG Motor UK for embracing our emotive ‘Feel good’ concept. As a Creative Director, it’s always wonderful when an idea is loved by the client and we are able to deliver a final concept that stays true to the original intention.

The final advert

Client support