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Calabash Animation Transports Reality for Lucky Charms

New ad targeting adult audience brings nostalgic office worker into Lucky the Leprechaun’s enchanted forest.


Tapping into the kid inside every adult, Calabash Animation, the award-winning animation studio led by Creative Director Wayne Brejcha and Executive Producer Sean Henry,worked its animated magic on a new ad targeting adults for General Mills’ Lucky Charms cereal. Created by agency Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, “Transportasty” features a busy office worker whisked away to an enchanted forest by just one bite for a chance encounter with Lucky the Leprechaun.

“This spot touches on nostalgia for one’s own youth – a simpler time when a bowl of Lucky Charms and Saturday morning cartoons were the highlight of the week,” Henry says. “It was fun idea because the truth is kids aren’t the only ones who love Lucky Charms and this spot gets at that idea in a smart and cinematic way.”

Blending 3D animation and live action photography, “Transportasty” (:15) opens with an employee walking through her office break-room. Noticing a bowl of Lucky Charms on the table she helps herself to a bite and is suddenly transported to a lush, beautifully animated 3D forest – complete with rainbows of swirling Lucky Charms cereal pieces around her. As she savors her first bite, Lucky appears uttering his famous catch phrase (“they’re always after me Lucky Charms”), and snatches the bowl of cereal from her hands.

Just as quickly as she got there, she’s transported back to the office, saying to herself “I forgot how good these taste.” The last embers of her journey can be seen in the form of pixie dust emanating off the spoon in her hand.

For Brejcha, the creative challenge was determining exactly how Lucky was going to interact with the live action. 

“Historically, Lucky doesn’t interact very often with live action characters, and it was imperative to keep it true to the existing Lucky design,” Brejcha says. “We spent a lot of time on the photographic details of the CG environment and the coherent lighting of this world, because it was crucial that viewers believe that Lucky and this woman are in this world together – magical though it is.” 

Brejcha adds, “We approached the CG environment in a very painterly way, using gorgeous concept art to guide the feel of it. Lucky’s animation was an amalgam of 2D drawings informing the CG animation, as we tried to keep Lucky as nimble and expressive as always.” 

Source: Calabash Animation

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.