Sellex Crockery: Red Riding Hood (c1930)

Sellex Crockery: Red Riding Hood (c1930)
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This early cinema ad appeals to the ‘pester power’ of children by using an animated cartoon to promote Sellex products.

In this partly animated advertisement for a Sellex tea set, some of the characters that decorate the crockery appear in the story Red Riding Hood.

This clip begins with an animated cartoon of Pam Possum taking a shortcut through the forest to see Granny Platypus, despite the warning from her animal friends about the dangerous Willy Wildcat. Pam reaches Granny’s house only to find Willy Wildcat there in her place. Pam Possum blows a whistle and the other animals come running to her rescue. Willy Wildcat’s plan is foiled.

A male narrator then promotes the Sellex tea set decorated with characters from the cartoon. A live action shot of the tea set is followed by other kitchen products from the Sellex range.

Summary by Poppy De Souza

In this charming and clever advertisement, Little Red Riding Hood is given an Australian twist with characters Pam Possum and Granny Platypus taking on the familiar roles of Red Riding Hood and the Grandmother. Other animals include a kangaroo, a koala and a kookaburra.

The first three-and-a-half minutes tell the Red Riding Hood story in which Pam Possum takes a shortcut through the forest to see her grandmother, in spite of the animals who warn her of dangerous Willy Wildcat. At the end of the cartoon, a male voice-over comments on Willy Wildcat’s fate and then delivers the persuasive selling pitch: ‘remember, all the characters in this Sellex production appear on the cups and jars in this Sellex tea set’.

We see the tea set and other Sellex kitchen products in a live action setting. The narrator also highlights the product’s vibrant colour, durability, and suitability for the modern home – a pitch to housewives and mothers. In this way, the advertisement cleverly targets two generations of users.

This advertisement was made by Eric Porter Productions, an animation studio and production company run by director and animator Eric Porter. Eric Porter Productions also produced the iconic animated advertisements for Aeroplane Jelly in the 1940s and 1950s. It would have screened to audiences in cinemas prior to a feature film.

The cartoon is an example of traditional two-dimensional animation where each frame is drawn by hand and then played in sequence to create the illusion of movement. Two-dimensional animation is now mostly achieved through the use of computers.

Please note: the crackly soundtrack in this clip is because of the age of the material and the physical condition of the film print held by the NFSA.

Notes by Poppy De Souza

Production Company:
Eric Porter Productions