diamond geezer

 Sunday, December 07, 2014

Were you planning on riding the cablecar this Christmas? Well, take some earplugs, because somebody in the marketing department has had a humdinger of a commercial idea.
Join The Snowman™ and The Snowdog on Emirates Air Line
In partnership with Snowman Enterprises Ltd, Emirates Air Line brings you a themed experience this festive season. Between 13 December and 4 January 2015 you can join The Snowman and The Snowdog in a unique flight across the Thames.
Remember The Snowman, the adorable 1982 cartoon that lit up Channel 4's first Christmas? Well this isn't that, it's the not-quite-so-classic 30th anniversary sequel with a dog, and featuring incidental music by Razorlight's drummer. And when you ride the cablecar between next Saturday and the first Sunday in January, that's what'll be blaring out of the audio-visual display in your cabin.

And not even the full animation. For a start there isn't time during a ten minute crossing, but more importantly the Dangleway crew have commissioned some special cablecar-related visuals instead.
The iconic Snowman's flight will be brought to life throughout your Emirates Air Line trip. Immersive digital effects, including specially edited sequences of the film and sound track will be combined with new aerial footage of the cable car and its surrounding landmarks - treated to create wintery animation effects and featuring the film's characters.
Here, why not watch a short sample.



In the clip, our hero Billy flies over a snowy London to reach the cablecar, and then swoops around the dockside, car parks and post-industrial riverside of East London with a big grin on his face. Somebody in a meeting actually signed off on this, possibly even with money from your fares.

The original Snowdog cartoon used over 200,000 hand drawn images created by 77 animators and cost over £2million to produce. Alas the newly-added segment has noticeably lesser production values. The cablecar backdrop is fairly obviously film, tweaked and softened to look like a snowy night, and clashing somewhat with the proper animation. Indeed on its first appearance the cablecar looks particularly amateurly embedded, and the cables stop halfway across the river, which can't be ideal.

I'll gloss over the fact that in the C4 cartoon the Snowman's flight takes place at midnight, four hours after the cablecar stops running for the evening. I'll not query whether blizzard conditions would in fact have caused cross-river service to be suspended. Much more realistic is the observation that no passengers are visible aboard... although with this special Yuletide offer TfL are obviously hoping otherwise.
There is no additional cost for The Snowman and The Snowdog flight experience, but customers are advised to book in advance.
The first 15000 children to turn up will get a free goodie bag containing a chocolate, in-flight binoculars, an I-spy challenge and a character mask. There'll also be a life-size Snowman model for children to have their photo taken in front of before the flight, presumably with the name of the sponsor featuring prominently in the background. And adults will have to grit their teeth and endure the flight, prevented from enjoying the view by the terribly-distracting in-flight movie.

Two and a half years ago the cablecar was introduced as a serious commuter option, and a key part of London's transport network. Last year it became a tourist attraction, with the emphasis on the flight rather than getting to the other side. This Christmas it's an aerial cinema showing cartoons for kids. I used to have to try quite hard to ridicule the Dangleway, but now it satirises itself.


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