Vee Pee Cartoons, the broadcast design and animation division of Virtual Persuasion located in Fairfield, Connecticut recently completed a series of "Quickie Nickies" interstitials for Nickelodeon. THE GREGORY AND PECK shorts feature a dim-witted bear, Gregory, and a wise-cracking rooster, Peck, airing in April as part of Nickelodeons Nick Toons line-up. These spots allow Nick to experiment with new and original characters, according to animation director John Siciliano.
Hong Kong-based animation studio STVDIO Media has produced an animated spot for Coca-Colas Slurpee "Brainfreeze" product in Singapore and its agency M&C Saatchi. DR. BRAINFREEZE'S LABORATORY features the creator of the ice-cold Slurpee drink, Dr. Brainfreeze, who loves his drink even though he has to go to great lengths to thaw out his head after each sip. He employs various gadgets such as hairdryer and a blowtorch-wielding robot to thaw out. The animators used a DEXTER'S LABORATORY inspired style for the mad doctor.
Uli Meyer Studios has completed BANKING, an animated spot featuring CGI characters Lil Red and an animated piggy bank called Floyd that promotes the interactive features of BSkyB's Digital Broadcasting, such as the ability to check your bank balance.
To cover a wider base and lessen potential clients' commutes, Space Division, a new creative editorial and design company has opened offices in Santa Ana and Santa Monica, California. Space Division provides creative editorial, design and finishing for commercials, music videos, feature film and television. Founded by former ARTiFACT principals Christopher Willoughby and Leah Welsh, the Space Division principals report there is a growing demand in Orange County for creative collaboration from local agencies, clients and post facilities.
Duck Soup has broken out of its traditional 2D shell into the world of 3D animation creating two live-action/CGI spots featuring the candy-coated M&Ms for BBDO and client Mars, Inc. Director Lane Nakamura and producer Sandra Oda, with their team, completed "Vending Machine" and "Movie Theater" in six weeks. "Vending Machine" features the red M&M nervously bracing himself inside a vending machine to keep from falling into the hands of a determined and very hungry young man.
PS Creative, based in Birmingham, England, has finished off a commercial spot and a sting (British broadcasting jargon for an interstitial or bumper in the U.S.) for its U.K. clients S4C and Drayton Manor. Welsh broadcaster S4C commissioned the company to produce a :10 animated sting. PS Creative director Nicola Scurlock used a handheld Super 8 to shoot nature footage he digitally combined using Adobe AfterAffects and Photoshop with a hand drawn animation overlay to create "Spectrum," which explores the delicate touches of nature, light and colors of spring.
Hollywood-based visual effects shop Eden FX just delivered a huge, three-minute long CG animation project for client Delphi Productions to appear on the Jumbotron screen at the Daytona Speedway during this weekend's Daytona 500 Event. The piece introduces the winner of Pontiac's Daytona 500 Pace Car Design Contest. It features five animated 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix pace cars (each bearing a paint job designed by one of the five contest finalists) racing from their high-tech factory across the U.S.
London-based visual effects company The Mill has created a charging herd of bison for the new Levi's spot "Stampede," which premiered in the U.S. during the Superbowl on January 26, 2003. The spot is promoting Levi's new Type 1 jeans and was directed by Jorn Haagen at Academy, for agency BBH New York. The commercial opens with a stampede of bison running through the desert on their way to a city. They arrive in the city, knocking down lamp posts and breaking windows.
Venice, California-based design and production company Motion Theory showed how skateboarders came to be in "Evolution," the newest spot in ESPNs "Without Sports" campaign. Conceived by ESPN and its agency, Wieden+Kennedy/New York, the ad debuted during the Superbowl pre-game show. "Evolution" begins with an animated surfer riding a wave. As the surfer cuts up the wave, his surfboard sprouts wheels, evolving into a skateboard.
Video game TV network G4 has entered into an on-air, cross-channel and online campaign in conjunction with game publisher Eidos Interactive and game developer Core Design. The promotion will put video game character Lara Croft in a marketing program to promote both the cable channel and Eidos' popular TOMB RAIDER franchise. As part of the million-dollar agreement, G4 will produce three network promotional commercials featuring the heroine of Eidos' successful TOMB RAIDER game and motion picture series.
West Hollywood-based visual effects and design company A52 recently completed CG and visual effects work for the "Digital Experience" campaign for Olympus digital cameras by way of The Martin Agency. The spots feature a young boy who decides to have some fun with his Olympus digital camera at an aquarium. He shoots a close-up picture of a shark with its mouth open, then goes to another tank filled with small fish.
In a new spot for Frito-Lay and agency BBDO, New York, advertising icon Chester Cheetah makes his CG debut, thanks to New York-based VFX company Quiet Man. Titled "Field Trip," the spot marks not only Chester's transformation from traditional cel animation, but also the first major spot in which the character is seen almost exclusively in a live-action environment. In the spot, Chester appears in a classroom as a substitute teacher to introduce Twisted Cheetos.
SecondSun Entertainment, the animation company created by combining 2D studio Delaney and Friends, 3D company Brainchild Studios, and Interactive Games producer Furious Entertainment, has recently completed two animated commercial projects under the new banner. Both commercials employed a combination of live-action, 2D and 3D animation.
Toronto-based independent animation house Cuppa Coffee recently completed a commercial for Nissan Almera. "A car commercial is always a unique challenge," said executive producer Adam Shaheen. "You really need to demonstrate difference from the other cars out there, and our goal was to show that difference through the class and style in the illustration reference, and building a relationship between the style, the characters and the product." Working with Mexicos OMNI Producciones with a brief from agency C. C.
Uli Meyer Studios has just finished another animated commercial featuring Lil Red Button Man, the character the studio created to embody the interactive features of the BSKYB network. In "Rock Idol," Lil Red and video game star Lara Croft face off to entice viewers to play TOMB RAIDER as part of BSKYB's interactive games selection. In the spot, the animated Lara Croft is on a mission through a museum. She leaps over and ducks under laser beams until she finds what appears to be a statue of a mystical icon.
Ever wonder what you would do if you won the lottery? Well, in a new campaign for the Washington Lottery and its new Mega Millions campaign, visual effects company Radium helped a lucky multi-million dollar lottery winner take possession of the biggest prize of all: Seattle's famous Space Needle. The three 30-second spots are styled as news reports about a local man named Steve who has apparently purchased the Space Needle.
Digital visual effects company 11:11 MediaWorks has created its first stop-motion animation project, a parody of the Rankin-Bass special RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER for client ClearChannel Radio and KIIS-FM. The 30-second TV spot promotes KIIS-FM radio on-air personality Rick Dees, who appears as the story's Santa, with deejays JoJo Wright, Gary Spears and Valentine as elves, Poorman as Yukon Cornelius and Ellen K. as a sexy Mrs. Claus.
Hollywood-based Unbound Animation recently completed a spot for the British kids' lunchbox product, Munchsters' Lunchpods. Unbound was hired by Viacom Brand Solutions as part of its Munchsters' " MegaBowl" promotional campaign to air on Nickelodeon U.K. The 30-second spot opens with pre-teens Whak and Kayo, sitting at a table looking glumly at their empty lunchboxes. A fly buzzes out of the nasty lunchboxes, while the voiceover tells them to forget their old boring sandwiches... Munchsters' Lunchpods are more fun, cool and taste great!
Independent animation studio Cartoonland in San Francisco recently completed 2D animation for a new commercial for Fox Kids Denmark. In the spot, a 2D animated boy is watching television with a live-action picture. He flips the channels and as soon as he reaches the Fox Kids channel the scene explodes into 3D animation and the boy flies through space with hundreds of Fox cartoon characters.
Barbie grows up in Mattel's new spots for My Scene Barbie, which target the classic doll to a new audience of tween girls. To launch the My Scene line, Mattel and ad agency Peterson Milla Hooks in Minneapolis turned to New York design and production company Curious Pictures to produce a package of TV spots. Directed by Boo Wong, 3 of the spots are cel animated and 5 are a mix of live-action and graphics.
Visual effects and design company A52 recently completed visual effects and CGI work for RSA USA and director Adrian Moat for Nissan Maxima's "Paint Remover," which illustrates the speed of the Maxima automobile in a surprising way. Conceived by TBWAChiatDay's project art director Jason Stinsmuehlen and copywriters Eric Grunbaum and Neil Hughlett, the concept of the spot was a new Nissan Maxima races through the desert so fast that its paint completely peels away.
Toronto-based design and animation company Ghostmilk Studios provided the stop-motion animation used to bring a cereal father and son to life in "Snowman," a new spot for Kellogg's Canada by way of agency Leo Burnett. Bob Fortier of Axyz directed the holiday spot, which opens on a winter scene designed out of construction paper on a wooden school desk. A stick figure father and son, made from actual Rice Krispies and Frootloops cereal pieces, are brought to life and together share a seasonal moment building a snowman.
Hibbert Ralph Animation (HRA) recently completed two 30-second commercials for the Colorado Lottery by way of Denver-based agency Karsh & Hagan, each incorporating very different styles and techniques. Directed by Tom Gravestock, "Musical Machine" combines live-action stills with 2D and multi-media and follows the yellow lottery balls as they move through a giant musical machine. The music machine itself is a mixed-media sculpture of paint pots, car parts and drainpipes, which is watched over by 2D animated attendants.
Cuppa Coffee Animation recently completed two very different spots for Cartoon Network to promote two of the network's most popular shows. The studio created a 60-second promo for SAMURAI JACK, which combines eerie imagery with a predominantly red palette and an ominous soundtrack. Cuppa Coffee explained that it was an opportunity to do something a little more edgy and frightening than usual for the Cartoon Network airwaves. "Jack is one of the most original shows on the air," said Hector Herrera, creative director at Cuppa Coffee.
Santa Monica-based visual effects house R!OT recently worked the bugs into a new 30-second spot for the travel Website Expedia.com. A team of three compositors and a computer animator created the swarms of flying insects that menace a pair of vacationers in the spot, conceived by Deutsch, Los Angeles. In "Mosquito Net," a woman exploring hotel choices on Expedia.com sees the descriptive phrase "mosquito nets in every room" under a hotel listing. The woman imagines herself and her husband in a tropical hideaway, only to awaken in the middle of the night besieged by insects.