Alton Towers - "The Smiler"

The Smiler is a record-breaking ride, having more inversions than any other rollercoaster in the world. It's so-named because of the inane, bewildered smile stretched across your face after 14 loops. The ride is a pretty psychedelic experience - the backstory being that this is part of an evil plan to brainwash people into a cult-like existence. A bit like Brexit but more fun. We helped develop the ride's identity and the experience itself as well as the launch TV commercial. We shot this on-site at Alton Towers with the 'three-eyed' raven from Game Of Thrones (it was massive and could roll over on command). And we filmed the riders in the cars at the rollercoaster factory in Bavaria. The hardware was too heavy to transport to a studio, so we built the studio around it.

We took spirals as a visual theme - mainly to emphasise the bewildering effect on the riders' eyes. This extended to the visual design of the ride itself.
In the opening shot alone, you've got spiral clouds, streetlamps, the water fountain and the lollipop the raven has just stolen off a child (you can hear it crying in the background if your ears are better than mine). Not one person referenced Tim Burton in the concepting or production phase. Honest.

Project Tags


  • Merlin Entertainments logo

    Merlin Entertainments

    • Social Enterprise
  • D

    DLKW Lowe

    • A

      Alton Towers

      • January Thirteen logo

        January Thirteen

        • Advertising