Until de mid-1930s the Pinheiros river was one of the main public leisure spaces in the city of São Paulo, a place where citizens could swim, fish, ride boats and take part in rowing competitions.
Today, despite rolling through the most affluent areas of the city, bordered by big multinational corporate buildings and commuter railways and avenues that transport thousands of people every day, the river has literally become an open-air sewage drain.
After successive administrations launched one fruitless clean-up program after another, a group of advertising professionals decided to set up a campaign called #VoltaPinheiros (“come back Pinheiros”). The idea is to call the attention of society, the private sector and the government, in order to draw up a plan to bring the river back to life.
To help publicize the initiative, Vetor Zero was invited to produce a 90-second animated film. Built almost entirely out of recycled materials and animated by hand in real time, the movie portrays the utter assault on the senses – especially the sense of smell – that the current condition of the Pinheiros inflicts on the townspeople that move around its surroundings. The theme song’s humorous tone and the colorful visual style don’t hide the seriousness of the subject matter, on the contrary: this apparent lightness emphasizes even more the absurdity of the situation, besides making it easier for the message to reach the largest possible audience.