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.
Brown & Williamsons KOOL cigarettes campaign has found a new outlet for display, thanks to a 30-second spot produced by The Studio Upstairs via agency BatesUSA. Entitled "Pulse," the spot is designed to be viewed on bathroom walls in nightclubs across the U.S. via a broadcast medium known as narrowcasting. Narrowcasting is a narrowly focused mix of media created for a specific viewer. The medium is viewed in a public place, usually at a relevant point of contact with the consumer.
Head Gear Animation recently completed some spooky stop-motion animation for Cartoon Networks October programming on-air promotions. To promote the network's "Scaretoon Scaretoon Fright Days," Courage the Cowardly Dog and his owner Eustace bury a television set in the backyard. The buried cel animation TV is transformed into a stop-motion zombie version of its formerly benign self. Courage quakes with fear as the TV rises from the grave sporting a promo for "Scaretoon Scaretoon Fright Days" programming.
Rhinoceros Visual Effects once again took up the challenge of creating feisty, photo-realistic fruit for Grey Advertising and client Robitussin. As a follow up to their previously completed spot for Robitussin Sunny Orange, Rhinoceros was asked to create a conga line of raspberries for Robitussin Sunny Raspberry. In the spot, the jazzy raspberries join a dancing line of Robitussin lozenges, all heading towards the Sunny Raspberry package. The challenge was to make the raspberries look as real as possible, while still allowing them to get their groove on.
Renegade Animation provided the animation for a new spot for Dodge RAM trucks in which the automakers RAM logo sends a mischievous decal an unambiguous message to "piss off." Conceived by BBDO Detroit, the commercial centers on the familiar decal of a boy peeing that springs to life on the back window of a Dodge RAM. Mixing live action with animation, "Dont Mess" opens on a black Dodge RAM truck pulling into a desert gas station. When the driver gets out, the outline of a boy in a baseball hat appears on the back window and makes his way across the glass.
San Francisco-based Phoenix Effects & Design, a division of Phoenix Editorial, has completed two 30-second spots for AT&T Broadband Internet service via advertising agency Hoffman/Lewis, San Francisco, and is at work on a third, which will promote AT&T Broadband Cable Television service. All three of the entirely CG spots were directed by Matt Silverman and designed by Jason Ett of Phoenix Editorial. The spots fuse clean, minimalist graphics and a computer-generated cable zipping across a white background with upbeat surf-guitar music to create a lively image for the broadband service.
In eight 15-second spots for General Mills' Pop Secret, by way of agency Campbell Mithun/Minneapolis, Moo Studios' director Shaun Sewter combined live-action and stop-frame photography of a mountain of popcorn with simple type treatments to create distinctive moods for the microwave popcorn's many flavors. All the popcorn action in the spot was stop-frame animated, as opposed to being created via CGI. In one spot, titled "Swarm," a swirling mound of popcorn diminishes in size as its pieces disperse, like bees leaving a hive.
Framestore CFC has recently completed work on a new TV commercial titled "Cow and Bear," which features two animated plastic containers (a chocolate syrup-filled cow and a honey-filled bear) fighting over the pleasure of dispensing their contents on a plate of Kellogg's Eggo waffles. The 30-second spot represents the first time that the U.K.-based Framestore, best known for their work on the Discovery Channel's WALKING WITH DINOSAURS mini-series, has created photo-real character animation for a prominent U.S. client. Another first for Framestore was handling all post-production online.