Brian Henson directs Tall Poppy, Jim Henson Company’s ambitious short film in partnership with CGU Insurance

CGU Insurance

Groundbreaking production introduces innovative visual language combining handcrafted puppetry with digital effects

CGU Insurance has collaborated with The Jim Henson Company to break down the cultural phenomenon of Australia’s tall poppy syndrome with the ambitious new production Tall Poppy, released nationally in Australia today.

This ground-breaking short film, directed by Brian Henson (Muppet Treasure Island, Muppet Christmas Carol, Farscape), introduces an innovative and unique visual language for film, beautifully combining handmade practical puppets with cutting edge CG backgrounds.

Poppy, developed by CGU Insurance and brought to life by the award-winning Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, encourages Australians to question the cultural stigma of tall poppy syndrome, and to see ambition – which is often seen as a negative trait – in a different light. Poppy is a heroine for the positive power of ambition, which can lead to creativity and innovation, and on her journey, she learns to hold onto and share her ambitious spirit.

Tall Poppy was created using an impressive range of production techniques and technologies, combining classic tabletop puppetry with rich visual effects resulting in a hand-crafted yet sophisticated look. Dozens of puppets and nearly 150 visual effects shots were needed to complete the nine-minute film.

Brian Henson said: “Tall Poppy is about celebrating ambition, and facing the feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability that can get in the way of living to your fullest potential. The ambitious team that came together to create this film, brought together by our incredible partners at CGU Insurance, definitely saw the magic and innovation that can happen when everyone feels free to share their own unique talents. We hope that Poppy’s story will inspire Australians to celebrate their own tall poppies.”

According to recent research* conducted by CGU Insurance, more than a third of Australians believe ambition is often regarded as a dirty word.

The same research revealed that almost 60% of people believe Australians like to cut down ambitious people, despite the positive role ambition can play in our lives. However, the seeds for change are evident with 77% of Australians acknowledging that ambition is important to drive progress and innovative thinking.

IAG Chief Marketing Officer Brent Smart, said: “CGU Insurance created Poppy to highlight that being ambitious is a good thing. We want to celebrate Australia’s tall poppies, not cut them down, because collectively driving innovation in small businesses is essential for progress and growth.”

The CGU Insurance research also found that one in five Australians have either passed up an opportunity for fear of being seen as a tall poppy or been a victim of the tall poppy syndrome. The research shows that younger generations, including Gen Z and Millennials, are most held back by tall poppy syndrome.

“Celebrating and inspiring ambition in the next generation of Australians is important, and we shouldn’t let the tall poppy label or the issue of standing out due to our success hold us back. As seen with Poppy’s story, ambition can lead us to achieve wonderful things,” said Mr. Smart

Tall Poppy was produced by The Jim Henson Company, with puppets provided by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and visual effects provided by Stargate Studios. Tall Poppy was made in partnership with CGU Insurance, and can be viewed HERE.

/Public Release.