Aardman was delighted to have the opportunity to join forces with Comic Relief, TK Maxx and Homesense to launch a fashion and homeware collection for Red Nose Day 2024. 

The initial approach came directly from Richard Curtis and Emma Freud who reached out to Nick Park asking if we could lend our characters to the Red Nose Day 2024 campaign. We jumped at the chance to be involved, despite an almost-impossible schedule. 

The first stage was to meet with the incredibly talented team at TJX. The scale of the operation soon became apparent as we became aware of the huge range of products. And each of the products came with their own set of manufacturing challenges which would influence the designs.   

From the outset, everyone was in agreement this campaign should feature what we often refer to as the ‘Aardman family’ – our most-loved characters. Red Nose Day is such a family event, and the range of products is designed for adults and kids. Aardman’s shows have real cross-generational appeal, and including Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Morph, Feathers McGraw, Ginger, Molly and Frizzle meant there was something for everyone.  

Setting the style 

Due to the long lead times, we had to get cracking on the clothing designs first. All our characters are physical models so most of our assets are photographic. It’s difficult to print full colour photographic assets on fabric so we had to come up with a creative solution to get around this. We quickly settled on a slightly sketchy illustrative style inspired by our storyboard art. This style is full of energy and personality, and also feels authentic to Aardman and our production process.  

We were fortunate that one of our top storyboard artists Mike Salter was available to produce a brand-new set of illustrations in such a tight schedule. Mike has worked on many of our productions including Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep, which meant he was already very familiar with drawing most of the characters featured in the range. Nick Park and Merlin Crossingham were also able to carve some time out of their hectic schedule directing the new Wallace & Gromit film to brief and approve the illustrations, so we had the absolute dream team working on this project! 

Mike created 24 illustrations in total, and needed to incorporate the iconic red noses into each illustration. For some of the characters it was straightforward. Wallace and Gromit have very round noses so it was just a matter of making them red. It was slightly more challenging putting red noses on our beaked characters, but Feathers in particular looked great wearing a red nose. Shaun the Sheep was tricker as he doesn’t really have a nose so rather than plonk a nose awkwardly on his face, we had Shaun playfully interacting with round objects like a glitterball.

The design team at TJX finessed the illustrations, added a limited palette of colours, then mocked up the designs on t-shirts. 

The range grows 

Once the look and feel had been established, the team at TJX had the mammoth task of applying the designs to all the products. The range was huge! There were 81 individual products in total – 35 apparel lines (20 for adults, 15 for kids) and 46 homewares lines including aprons, lunch bags, mugs, notebooks, plush, tote bags, water bottles and a limited-edition art print. 

The team at TJX were eager to push the design treatment to be more playful wherever possible. For example, adding a fleecy bouclé pocket to the Shaun the Sheep t-shirt and making the handles of the tote bag look like an extension of Bab’s knitting.  

Assets to support 

Miraculously we were also able to squeeze in a stills shoot and some bespoke animation for a commercial to support the campaign which sees Wallace testing his new Charit-tee-omatic contraption. Here are some early concept sketches of the contraption and a scamp (sketch) to visualise how the animation would look. 

We were able to borrow Wallace and Gromit puppets from the studio floor which our modelmakers fitted with funny big red noses.  

The 20 second commercial also features cameos from Shaun the Sheep and Morph alongside some other famous faces. We were thrilled that the commercial was crowned Ad of the Week by System 1. 

The stars come out 

Comic Relief is such an institution in the UK and there is always an army of celebrities eager to support Red Nose Day. There were amazing stills of talent wearing the t-shirts and with the products. These high-quality assets came into their own as soon as the campaign launched, securing a huge amount of coverage across all media.   

A treat in store 

The products were available in store at TK Maxx and Homesense and online at TKMaxx.com from 31st January 2024. It’s always a thrill to see a product or campaign you’ve worked on in the real world, and I think pretty much everyone at Aardman has popped to one of the Bristol stores to see the products in situ for themselves. The Red Nose Day Products were in 352 TK Maxx and 76 Homesense stores across the whole of the UK, and with promotional posters and prominent window displays in most stores, this range has had an incredibly strong presence on the high street.   

Have a laugh for a cracking cause 

It’s been an absolute pleasure to work on this campaign, and to work with the talented and passionate team at TJX to create such a wonderful range of products and campaign. It’s also been a massive team effort within Aardman too, with the product development, marketing, social, and PR teams working seamlessly with the creative and production team to pull out all the stops to create something exceptional. What makes it even more special is that money raised by the sale of the products will help Comic Relief tackle some of the urgent problems facing children and young people globally.  

Laura Burr

Senior Brand Manager

Laura is responsible for leading strategies and initiatives for specific brands in the Aardman character portfolio including Lloyd of the Flies, Robin Robin, Morph and the Aardman brand.


Feathers Standing Chicken