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Calabash Animation Catches the Rainbow In New Lucky Charms Spot

Building on the success of their previous outing for Lucky Charms cereal, which found the iconic character Lucky the Leprechaun rendered in CG for the first time, Calabash Animation has expanded Lucky’s CG universe in ‘’Rainbow,’’ a new ad for the General Mills brand.

Press Release from Calabash Animation

CHICAGO, IL -- Building on the success of their previous outing for Lucky Charms cereal, which found the iconic character Lucky the Leprechaun rendered in CG for the first time, Calabash Animation has expanded Lucky’s CG universe in ‘’Rainbow,’’ a new ad for the General Mills brand. The ad was created by agency Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.

‘’This was the most ambitious CG project that we’ve done to date, with so many characters involved and so much motion,” Wayne Brejcha, Calabash Creative Director says. “Three kids plus lucky and five avatars – the screen is just jammed with characters.’’

Picking up where the previous spot ''Everybody Flies'' left off, ''Rainbow'' begins with three kids still chasing Lucky and his beloved box of Lucky Charms as he flies aboard a magical cereal piece when he flies smack into a rainbow. As he rips through it, the rainbow magically transforms him into five distinctly colored Lucky avatars, each with their own personality. Suddenly, Lucky loses his grip on the cereal box, which the camera follows as it falls through the sky and into the waiting arms of the hungry kids. As they excitedly realize there are five new colored charm pieces in the cereal (hence the name ''Rainbow''), Lucky and his avatars swoop down to steal back the cereal -- ending the spot with his familiar call of ‘’they’re magically delicious!’’

''For this spot we wanted to amplify the special effects, particularly the look of the water and the lighting and get away from an overly cartoonish blue sky look,'' Brejcha says. ''Rainbows generally form during or after ominous weather, so went for a slightly threatening weather look. The whole spot flows very naturally despite the fact that it was very complex.''

For Sean Henry, Calabash Executive Producer, who focused much of his attention on the compositing of the many characters and environments, the most challenging component of the spot was the sequence when the air-born Lucky loses his grip on the cereal box and the POV shifts from him to the falling box and finally to the kids waiting below. Although it comprises less than ten seconds of the whole spot, the sequence was extremely complex.

''Whenever you fly the camera around, you exponentially increase the number of things you need to think about,'' Henry says. ''The spot has a lot of dramatic camera movement and characters rocketing around like the Blue Angels, plus a ton of special effects. The motion has to feel physical, and yet it has to be very controlled so that the audience doesn't get lost. With six or more characters visible at a time in some of the shots, it was a particular challenge to make sure the performances came through. It involves a lot of very careful choreography to make something look so perfectly chaotic.''

Henry adds, ''The agency and the brand trusted us with a lot of freedom to tell a story which was very difficult to convey through storyboards alone. We find time and time again that communication is key, so that there are no unpleasant surprises.''

About Calabash Animation:Led by Creative Director Wayne Brejcha and Executive Producer Sean Henry, Calabash Animation, Inc. (www.calabashanimation.com) is the Chicago, IL-based animation production studio, known for its award-winning cel, 3D and stop-motion animation for the advertising and entertainment industries. Calabash Animation is perhaps best known for their creative development of some of America’s most beloved brand icons. In addition to working on some of today’s top advertising the company has also produced several acclaimed short films. It’s 2002 short ‘’Stubble Trouble’’ was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002. Its most recent “Botnik” will hit the festival circuit in Fall 2008.

Click here for more info about Calabash Animation:http://www.calabashanimation.com

Creative Credits:Client: General Mills/Lucky CharmsProject: ''Rainbow''

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York

Animation: Calabash Animation, Chicago, ILAnimation Director: Wayne BrejchaExecutive Producer: Sean Henry

Post house: Optimus, Chicago

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