When I went to the talk by Mainframe at Bradford Animation Festival, they gave us a preview of one of their new adverts. It has now been released and I found a short explanation of what was done and why on 3D World www.3dworldmag.com
I actually really liked this the first time I saw it. I was intrigued by the small movements the ants made and the small tiny details added onto them. When you look closely you can see the individual hairs and that each ant has their own movement pattern. The main thing whenever animating a certain object or thing is to reference. Mainframe was no different, they got their reference from a BBC documentary. Without doing this they may have not been able to get the movements to replicate how a real ant moves, and it might not have come across as realistic enough.
The idea itself is quite clever as ants tend to work like clockwork, having specific actions and the whole colony working together to get things done. This is just like a clock, all the components need to work together in order for the clock to work.