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. & A., Cuppa based the animation on the illustrative style of artist Jason Brooks. The spot opens with an animation of two stylish, black-clad women sipping drinks in a café. As the camera moves in on the hipsters, we see a live-action reflection of the Nissan Almera in the sunglasses of one of the women. The spot then transitions to live-action beauty shots of the car. Using just a single illustration, the creative team developed a character toolkit, permitting them to animate the scene from various angles. "The agency was attached to the initial illustration so our challenge was to bring the scene to life but still keep the sexy, sophisticated personalities of the characters," said creative director Hector Herrera. "Since the relationship between the characters and the car was paramount, we created and maintained a level of cool that could be shared by the characters and the product." The spot was traditionally animated and rendered in Flash at Cuppa Coffee in Toronto, then integrated with the live-action shots in Mexico. Cuppa found that Flash proved to be the perfect tool for such a tight deadline because the software gave animators the ability to update scenes easily and quickly in case of any revisions. Having successfully completed their first collaboration in the Mexican market, Cuppa Coffee is already in talks with other Mexican agencies and production houses for future projects.