Duck Soup Studios recently produced both the 3D animation and live-action for the 30-second Wal-Mart spot entitled "Sunny Skies." The mixed media spot features Wal-Mart´s friendly mascot, Smiley, who appears this time as the bright sun behind dark stormy clouds and then flies down to a Wal-Mart store to rollback prices once again. The animation was created by using Alias Wavefront´s Maya and was directed by Lane Nakamura with the live-action directed by Gale Tattersall and produced by Jon Derovan. Executive producer for the spot was Mark Medernach.
Interface Media Group, a Washington D.C.-based film and video production house, created the 3D animated end tag for "Choose Your Cover," a campaign for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 60, 30 and 15-second spots stress the importance of using sun protection to avoid skin cancer. Utilizing 3D animated icons created for last year´s campaign by Interface, art director/3D animator Carol Hilliard and designer/Flint artist John Bennett created a 4-second end tag, which mimics the project´s print campaign.
Toronto-based TOPIX/Mad Dog has created the visual effects for three 30-second spots for Visa´s latest campaign. The "Penguins" ad, which promotes the Visa Gold card, is currently airing in Canada. The commercial follows a family outing to the beach where a seemingly passive penguin pilfers the family´s Visa card. Likewise, the other two spots "Monkey 2" and "Cat Burglar," feature a Machiavellian monkey and crafty cat who walk away with unknowing victims´ Visa cards. TOPIX/Mad Dog Inferno artists had to replace the live-action animals with puppets.
Film Roman Inc. has launched a major expansion of its commercial production activities. As a result, Kathee Schneider has been named vice president of creative affairs and the commercial division's executive producer. Joining Schneider as executive creative director will be three-time Emmy-winning director, Eric Radomski. The artists featured on Film Roman's animation Web site, Level13.net will also be involved with the commercial division. "We are drawing on this vast new pool of talent who create avant-garde work for Level13.net," said Schneider.
J.J. SEDELMAIER PRODUCTIONS helped Major League Baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. try new "Sportz" (crackers that is). The 30-second spot for new Nabisco "Sportz" snack crackers integrates cel animation and live-action footage. "We haven't produced many projects integrating animation with live action, but on 'Griffey' we were teamed with the creatives from the Slim Jim spots, so we knew and trusted each other," said Sedelmaier. "But this kind of spot can't be as free-wheeling because the animation occupies a very specific area and requires a very particular look.
SIMEX returns to Toucan Sam with new Kellogs' spot. In the 30-second "Nose Detector" commercial, SimEx artists created the 2D and 3D animation for an adventurous spot, where Toucan Sam follows his nose to Kellogs' delicious-smelling new cereal, Froot Loops with Cherry Berry Swirls. This spot is the sixth Froot Loop commercial for SimEx and paired them with long-time creative partner Peter Lohmeier of Chicago-based ad agency Leo Burnett. The animation director was Jean Perramon and Christina Cox produced.
QUIET MAN raps on the newest Barrons spot. The visual effects driven spot, entitled "What's Coming," was filmed almost entirely on a bluescreen, which remains visible, mimicking the colors of the Barrons' logo. The spot begins with a man standing with his face buried in a copy of Barrons. Without lifting his head, he takes out an umbrella right before rain begins to fall. After the rain stops, the man takes a step to his left just avoiding a grand piano crashing down on the spot where he was just standing.
CHARLEX founder and creative director Alex Weil has created "Casual George," a 30-second spot to introduce the new "gold dollar" coin from the U.S. Mint. Charlex brings the stoic face of the first U.S. president off the dollar bill and places it on a lean young body. George gets jiggy with friends at a club, scuba dives with the fishes and drives a classic car along the freeway. "This project was about creating the character of George," said Weil. "We wanted to give him as much humanity as possible. When he reacts to the new one dollar coin, we wanted a reaction everybody can relate to.
WILL VINTON STUDIOS has delivered a new spot entitled "Choices" promoting 989 Studios' video game SYPHON FILTER 2. Mike Wellins directed the CGI commercial for San Francisco-based ad agency, Butler, Shine & Stern. The spot is designed to look like a scene taken directly from the game. The ad starts with the hero running on top of a speeding train firing his machine gun at approaching enemy. When the valiant hero corners the villain, the evil foe suddenly asks whether he can be "done in" with something less painful than a gun.
BLACK LOGIC wins big with new visual effects commercial for the Wisconsin Lottery. The spot highlights the new FastLucky5.com, a cutting-edge on-line game from the Wisconsin Lottery. Black Logic's Michel Suissa directed the ad. The fast paced spot begins with the declaration, "We have seen the future, and it's digital." The colorful spot bursts with floating digits and 3D animation and promises "a whole new way to play the numbers." Suissa said, "The challenge was to appeal to a younger audience, while remaining coherent and relevant.
Animation and visual effects house, CELLULOID STUDIOS, and live-action production company, VISITOR, helped Anheuser-Busch christen their new Bubble Boy Hockey League campaign. The 30-second "press conference" spots feature Hall of Fame hockey legend Wayne Gretzky as the first commissioner of a new league consisting of the Bubble Boys -- those tabletop hockey players found in many bars and dens. Celluloid created the blend of 2D animation and digital manipulation that brought to life the stiff, plastic Bubble Boy hockey players.
SIMEX Digital Studios teamed up with DUCK SOUP STUDIOS to combine live-action with animation in the new Keebler Elves spot. Promoting Chips Deluxe Cookies, the commercial entitled "One Upsman Chip" pits various elves against each other in a bake-off. SimEx wove together the animation from director Sam Cornell with live-action cookies. Animation director Jean Perramon of SimEx helped add a 3D touch to the backgrounds of the spot. The commercial was produced by Carolyn Bates at Duck Soup and Christina Cox at SimEx. SimEx and Duck Soup created the spot for Chicago-based ad agency Leo Burnett.
HELIUM inflated the new Relenza ads for Santa Monica, California-based design firm FUEL/Razorfish. The 30-second spot for Relenza's anti-flu prescription medication features 3D animation of the process in which a viral infection develops in the lungs. Scenes were also created to demonstrate the inhalation of the particulate medicine and for the spot's closing title sequence. The animation team consisted of John Scheafer, Helium's Creative Director and Miles Vignol, technical director, along with animator Suzi Hammon and producer Karin Rainey.
Sweden-based animation studio Filmtecknarna F. Animation has produced eleven 30-second, 2D animated spots for Oxygen Media entitled "Mom's On-line." The commercials are based on actual advice on childcare that mothers have posted on the Oxygen Web site. Commissioned by Oxygen Media's Bee Murphy, the spots were directed by Jonas Odell and produced by Leila El-Zein. Filmtecknarna produces commercials for the international market, as well as short films and TV series. Their spot for the British beer "Boddingtons" is currently nominated in the British Animation Awards.
RING OF FIRE roasts with two new spots for the Washington Apple Commission.
Produced for Seattle-based agency McCann Erickson, the 30-second
commercials highlight the heroic deeds of Apple Guy. In "Car Trip," Apple
Guy revives a family of four with apples before they drive their car off
the road. In "Hikers," Apple Guy rescues two campers from a crumbling rope
bridge. To keep the fast pace of the spots up, Ring of Fire used a blurring
technique they call "snap zoom morph" to transition from various shots
London-based PASSION PICTURES pops open four 10-second spots for Cadbury's
Giant Button chocolates. Director Chris Hauge brought to life the animated
little girl Giant Button, voiced by Noddy Holder. In "Boy Bands," she
advises young fans that if a favorite boy band breaks up just "find a new
one." In "Parents," she advises youngsters to emigrate to a desert island
if their parents become too embarrassing. In "Boys," Giant Buttons avoids a
Denmark-based A. FILM has rapped on a 35-second commercial for Kellogg's
Cereal. The spot was directed by Craig Frank and produced for the Leo
Burnett agency. The classic 2D animation spot launches a new image campaign
introducing Kellogg's Town, where 8 popular Kellogg's figures like
Cornelius, Tony the Tiger, Coco, Chocos, Loopy, Snap, Crackle and Pop live.
The spot will air in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
New York-based QUIET MAN souped up two spots commemorating the labels on
Campbell's Soup cans. In "Mega Noodle," nautical noodles amaze a young girl
with a synchronized swimming routine in her bowl. In "Video Game," two boys
pause their video game keeping a knight and dragon in limbo. As the boys
enjoy their soup the two game characters wonder aloud when the boys will
return. The 30-second commercials were directed by David Shirk and produced
CHARLEX, a visual effects post-production house, helped the National
Football League thank their fans with a 60-second spot aired during
American football's biggest game, the Super Bowl. Headed by Alex Weil,
Charlex founder and director, the Charlex artists used a mix of film,
digital effects, graphics and editing to create the look of the "Thank You
2000" spot. The commercial begins on a shadowy checkerboard. Suddenly light
floods into the room as a uniformed football player makes his way to an old
Director Dick Buckley of FLYING TIGER FILM and visual effects director Alex
Seiden of CYCLOTRON@POST PERFECT N.Y. rounded-up the e-Cowboy's for the
Super Bowl debuted LastMinuteTravel.com spot. Produced for New York-based
agency, Burkhardt & Hillman, the 30-second commercial is a modern spin on
the Sergio Leone spaghetti western. Reinforcing LastMinuteTravel.com's
message that great things happen at the last-minute, the e-Cowboys find
themselves quickly departing on a cyber-booked vacation, to escape an
RING OF FIRE made the crippled walk in Nuveen & Co.'s Super Bowl spot.
Andrew Douglas of SATELLITE was brought in to direct the futuristic spot
where paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve walks to a podium to receive an
award. The super feet was done for Minneapolis, Minnesota-based ad agency
Fallon McElligott. Ring of Fire's founder, Jerry Spivack, served as
creative director and visual effects supervisor for the commercial. Ring of
Fire isn't new to creating outstanding Super Bowl spots, their 1999
TOPIX/MAD DOG clears the air for the newest Ricola ad. Produced for ad
agency, DKB & Partners, a 30-second spot entitled "Reflections" was created
to promote Ricola's new line of herbal health dietary supplements.
TOPIX/Mad Dog created the reflections of the Ricola Matterhorn on windows,
soap bubbles, sunglasses and cars. The spot was produced at TOPIX/Mad Dog
by Diana D'Amelio and the senior Flame artist was James Cooper.
San Francisco-based ATTIK has brought to the finish line the spot for the
Infogrames video game TEST DRIVE 6. In the 30-second spot entitled "Movie
Trailer," director Simon Dixon placed a live-action driver in the seat of
the high-speed graphic environment. Clips of the real life racer are
intercut with game footage. The senior producer on the project was Lisa
Laubhan and the live-action producer was Doug Lay.
V12's director David Hwang created a "'50s sitcom spoof" commercial for
Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Produced for the Detroit ad agency DP + Company,
the 30-second spot features blue-tinted footage of a classic LEAVE IT TO
BEAVER-like family. As the family reads about the Selectcare program, the
commercial washes over in bright Technicolor hues. The voice-over
concludes, "Sometimes the answer can come right out of the blue." Jennifer
Lucero produced for V12.
Toronto-based RED ROVER's directors Andy and Linzi Knight created the
"subliminal" message for the Molson Export "Subliminal" spot. The 30-second
spot slyly transforms the bubbles in a glass of beer into the image of
three go-go girls dancing to "And the Beat Goes On." The spot was produced
for McClaren McCann of Toronto. Linzi Knight said, "This is the kind of
commercial people look forward to seeing because they're always looking to
see if they notice anything else going. That kind of viewer attention is