Beautiful animation to promote The Grand National on C4

The Grand National is approaching, and to promote Channel 4's coverage of the event, 4Creative has created a Disney-esque animation that tells a mythical tale of a unicorn-turned-racehorse...

Channel 4 has created a striking series of films in recent years to promote the horseracing event. In 2013, horses were shown racing through the streets of Liverpool, jumping cars and park benches, while the 2014 film gave us a punk history of the sport. For this year's film though, the team has decided to take an entirely different course, and produced an impressive animated work, titled The Outsider.

"It was the third time around so there was a real sense that you had to take it somewhere slightly different," says Jack Croft, creative on the spot alongside Stacey Bird. "Because the last two spots were really amazing, there's a real need to do something different, but stay at the same standard. You feel like you're putting it all on the line a little bit."

The film chronicles the tale of a plucky unicorn, picked upon from the moment of his birth. Unable to fly, he learns to run fast instead, and eventually abandons his unicorn home to battle on the racecourses of Earth. "It's based on the idea that racehorses really are built differently to other horses," says Bird. "We wanted to create a different place that these otherworldly horses have come from – a little bit of mystery around it, and mythology."

The spot was directed by Smith & Foulkes, who have produced a beautiful film, reminiscent of Disney animation. The team also commissioned a new score, composed by Alex Baranowski and recorded at Abbey Road Studios by an orchestra of 30 musicians. Completing the attention to detail in the spot is the ad's title, which features type design by Rick Banks by Face37, who has created a classic storybook-style face.

The film will be broadcast for the first time this evening on Channel 4, ahead of The Crabbie's Grand National Festival, which takes place on April 9-11.

Agency: 4Creative
Creative directors: Chris Bovill, John Allison
Creatives: Jack Croft, Stacey Bird
Production company: Nexus
Directors: Smith & Foulkes
ECD, Nexus: Chris O'Reilly
Composer: Alex Baranowski
Type designer: Rick Banks, Face37
Nexus Producer, Tracey Cooper
Nexus production manager, Fernanda Garcia Lopez
Agency producer: Shananne Lane
Music production company: SIREN
Sound design: Anthony Moore at Factory Group
Business director, 4Creative: Olivia Browne