Trev’s back!

21 May 2024
By Josh Fanning

RAA and kwpx reinvent one of the brand’s most distinctive characters as a 3D bee made by Academy Award-nominated visual effects company, Rising Sun Pictures 

A household name in South Australia, RAA have helped stranded motorists get back on the road for more than 120 years. For at least 20(?) of those years kwpx has been the agency of record for RAA, creating many memorable and distinctive characters who’ve helped the company grow.  

Trev the bearded bee is a nod (perhaps in name only) to the barista character who first appeared opposite George Kapiniaris in 2004 (I did some quick maths on this – be good to confirm when it aired). The George and Trev series of ads ran for 11 seasons, built RAA’s “Trust” platform, and helped grow their insurance business to be [insert important milestone / measurement here]. 

In 2024 RAA has expanded its remit. It now helps 820,000 members with everything from insurance to rooftop solar and places to plug in electric vehicles across the state. So, when RAA CMO, Michael Healy challenged kwpx to create a new fluid device or asset that could solve the brand’s attribution problems, we made this a whole-of-agency affair.  

Ideas for a new RAA mascot were submitted from across the agency and Trev the bee was chosen from a long list of weird-and-wonderful characters for no better reason than his yellow and black colour scheme. 

Long-term collaborator, Annalise Menzel of Darling pitched and won the business of building Trev into reality with Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) as her visual effects company and the director-cinematographer duo of Luke Shanahan and Shelley Farthing-Dawe tasked with building out Trev’s world.  

Rounds of art and 3D mock ups began in earnest while, in parallel, locations and casting got underway.  

There was a moment when shooting the RAA Travel ad in Fiji when one of our cast had to act opposite a bee that was not only not there, but was still not 100% complete. Fortunately, we had the voice of Trev (Jeremy Waters) on set to give our actors something solid to work with because the plush bee toy attached to a mop handle wasn’t “it”.  

With nothing more than kwpx’s original sketches and the loose character compass point of Zach Galifianakis, Rising Sun Pictures’ built out the nuanced and multi-layered character you now see buzzing across your screen.  

From sunspots and freckles, through to hairy knuckles and scuffed sneakers, Trev looks, and moves like the half man, half bee of ours and RAA’s dreams. The depth RSP went to in creating Trev’s outward visage was only surpassed by their commitment to protecting Trev’s character and motivation in the films. On more than one occasion, our friends at RSP and the director Luke Shanahan would politely remind us, “Trev wouldn’t do that.”  

And so Trev lives.  

Trev not only has proprietary physics software driving his fuzzy fur’s reactions to things like wind, sunlight, and rain, but he has a voice, an attitude, a backstory, and life goals that connect him firmly with the world around him and the future of our client, RAA. 

 

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Kwpx is a creative company that specialises in communication, and we respect how important language is to all Aboriginal Australians. As a company that works on Kaurna, Whadjuk Noongar, and Larrakia Country, we want to acknowledge the importance of connection to the Country. We take pride in everything we do and see reconciliation as important work for all Australians.

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Adelaide
Level 1, 251 Rundle Street
Adelaide SA 5000
08 8217 9100
Darwin
The Village Workplace
Level 1, 38 Parap Road
Parap NT 0820
08 8941 1799
FREMANTLE
131 High Street
Fremantle WA 6160
0422 174 663
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