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Rankin & AMV BBDO bring imaginary friends to life

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AMV BBDO has brought together some of the world’s best creative talent for a new exhibition, which opens this week at the V&A Museum of Childhood and features work from respected model makers from Aaardman, of Wallace & Gromit, Psyop and photography from world famous photographer, Rankin. The idea behind the project was to bring the imaginary friends of various children to life in order to underline the wild, untamed imaginations of our youth.

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The “Imaginary Friends Collection” work began way back in September last year, when more than 60 children were invited to a workshop where they were asked to describe their imaginary friend in as much detail as possible. Those imaginary friends were then painstakingly recreated in physical form by the likes of Aaardman, Psyop, Tsuneo Goda, the creator of the Japanese pop icon Domo Kun, and Becky & Joe the, creators of the cult viral hit “Don’t Hug me I Am Scared” and the recent St John Ambulance “Nursery Rhymes” campaign, which was created in partnership with BBH. The results are as varied as they are intriguing and range from an 8ft dinosaur to a three-eyed girl with a pet cloud. After the creations were complete, Rankin was then brought in to photograph the children and their friends finally together in the physical realm.

Arvid Harnqvist & Amar Marwaha, the creative team who devised the idea at AMV BBDO, said: “Children create many amazing things. Take their imaginary friends for instance. They are talked about all the time and often become part of the family. But when the child gets older, these marvellous creations fade away. This project aims to immortalise them.”

Rhian Harris, Director at the V&A Museum of Childhood, added: “This new campaign has brought together children’s imaginations with some of the UK’s most exciting designers and artists, in an exciting project to bring their ‘imaginary friends’ to life for all to see. The Museum of Childhood is part of the V&A family of museums and committed to inspiring creativity in all.”

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Aaardman, creator of “Monster” by Leo Georgiou: “An imaginary friend with 3 eyes, 4 arms and 4 legs. What’s not to love! We’ll play that game any day. Thanks AMV BBDO and V&A Museum of Childhood for letting us join in.”

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Péter Vácz at Picasso Pictures, creator of Swerl by Eva Wood: “As an artist it's one of the most exciting things to bring an imaginary creature to life, especially when it comes from a child's mind. Eva Wood's ‘Swerl' is one that I was very happy to bring into our world.”

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Becky and Joe at BlinkInk, creators of Chloe by Mable Brim:“This was a really fun project to be involved in and it’s such a great idea. Hopefully bringing the imaginary friends to life won't give the children nightmares. We’re not sure we would want to hang out with Chloe ourselves!”

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Rankin: “I have no doubt that the imaginary friends we have as kids have far-reaching influences on us, not only in developing our thirst for story-telling but in helping us to deal with all that life has to throw at us. I just wish someone had thought of this when I was a kid.”

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The exhibition is free and runs until Friday 12 February. If you have kids we couldn't possibly imagine a better day out!

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