Martin Stirling: #ProtectTigers

ADC Young Guns 2016 winner has got a tiger by the tail for WWF

When JWT London came looking for a director to shoot their #ProtectTigers ad for WWF, they couldn’t have picked a better artist than acclaimed Northampton, UK-based director and ADC Young Guns 2016 winner Martin Stirling, for whom the endangered big cat holds a lifelong fascination.

“I was drawn to this project as I’ve always been obsessed with tigers,” Martin explains. “As a child I spent all my time drawing and painting these beautiful stripy beasts. I was in the middle of working on a children’s book about tigers when I told my partner I wanted to make an ad or film about them. About two weeks later, this brief came in and I leapt at it!”

Now you’d think that filming a tiger — real, CGI or otherwise — would be an arduous process, but Martin had more pressing issues. “The biggest challenge was sourcing authentic greenery to shoot for the final jungle scene. I was keen to make sure the plants were true to the areas where Bengal tigers roam but the team at Palmbrokers came through for us! The CGI was one of the smoothest experiences, as we had the best people in the world on the job — the big cat team at MPC — who absolutely nailed it.”

The spot is part of WWF’s holiday season campaign, and Martin has high hopes for it to make an impact. “I hope that this film will begin to open up the conversation about Tx2, our aim to double the number of tigers in the world by 2022. In the last 100 years we’ve managed to kill off 95% of the world population of tigers. I’d love to think humanity can be a much more creative force rather than a destructive one, but it means we must all get involved in protecting tigers and their habitat.”

Beyond this WWF commercial, Martin has been keeping busy these past few months with other projects, including this haunting spot for Insolvency Service of Ireland. “I really wanted this to feel poetic and harrowing simultaneously,” he says. “The idea came from the brilliant minds over at Irish International (BBDO Ireland) whilst we were shooting our Road Safety adverts. We talked a lot about it during that time and it was always conceived to be something beautiful and arresting. About a year later we were in an underwater tank on the outskirts of London drowning a very brilliant actress.”

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