Sometimes being hungry for a hot dog is no laughing matter. Thanks to DUCK Studios' latest Wienerschnitzel campaign, craving a hot dog has never been more amusing.
Helmed by live-action directors the Docter Twins and animation directors Lane & Jan (Lane Nakamura and Jan Chen), the four laugh-out-loud spots, written by DGWB of Santa Ana, California, represent the fast food chain's resurrection of their beloved animated character TDO (The Delicious One). The commercials are airing in all major Wienerschnitzel markets across the West Coast as well as on www.wienerschnitzel.com.
"The Wienerschnitzel spots are hysterical!" exclaimed Mark Medernach, Executive Producer at DUCK. "The Docter Twins and Lane & Jan worked really hard, and we are very happy with the results. It was a total team effort. The spots are a fantastic blend of live-action environments and an unmistakably original animated character, TDO. Made entirely in-house, the campaign reflects the versatility of services we offer here at DUCK."
These are the first spots that the Docter Twins have completed for DUCK, and they powerfully demonstrate Jason and Matt Docter's collaborative, creative vision. Shot in Greater Los Angeles in January 2008, the biggest production challenge was telling a comedic story in a 20 second time frame, explained the Docter Twins, "We wanted to make sure we allowed enough space for the comedic timing, and that's tough to do in 20 seconds." Each of the :30 spots is 20 seconds of live action followed by 10 seconds of product.
Shot with the new Red One camera, the work satirizes various situations where people try to catch the animated hot dog, TDO. The first spot of the campaign is titled HR. It lampoons a traditional meeting between an employee and an HR manager. TDO complains that he's been receiving inappropriate advances from his co-workers. Meanwhile, two hungry office pranksters are outside the HR office taunting him. It appears that everyone in the office wants to eat The Delicious One. The spot ends with the HR manager turning the tables on TDO by closing the blinds and going after him herself.
The second spot, titled GOTCHA is set against the backdrop of a college dormitory filled with debauchery. We see a hungry female student frantically chasing TDO through the hallway. She's starving, and boy does she want a hot dog. TDO escapes by sneaking into one of the dorm rooms. However, the girl follows him inside and struggles to find him in the dark. Suddenly, we hear her shout "Gotcha" when she grabs what she thinks is TDO. Much to her surprise, she has accidentally grabbed another student's "hot dog" by mistake.
The casting was key in this spot, according to the Docter Twins. Rather than using a traditional "fast-food hottie" supermodel, the actress in GOTCHA looks like an attractive, yet still very believable college student. "Working with an inherently 'cute' hot dog cartoon character, we wanted to make sure our casting choices were authentic. The goal was to create a blend of animation and live-action that felt realistic and believable, and casting the right girl was essential to the process," said the Docter Twins.
Spot number three is titled BLUBBER. A group of Eskimos are huddled in a make shift tent in the Alaskan tundra, preparing to have yet another meal of blubber. TDO starts complaining that they have to eat blubber again. Suddenly, one of the Eskimos suggests they could all have a much tastier dinner if they just ate TDO. In the making of this spot, the Docter Twins artfully created a rustic yurt and shot in a cold storage facility to keep the actors in the proper environment.
"We really wanted them to feel the cold," explained the Twins, "Lane and Jan took care of the rest." The spot showcases Nakamura and Chen's animation virtuosity as TDO blends seamlessly into the live action environment.
The fourth and final spot titled PREDATOR, is a witty spoof of the MSNBC news documentary show TO CATCH A PREDATOR. The protagonist (predator), Josh, enters a kitchen in the mid-afternoon, expecting to be alone with TDO. He is surprised when a TV host and camera crew, a la Chris Hansen, show up instead asking, "You were expecting a little running hot dog, weren't you?" The TV host goes through Josh's belongings and discovers that Josh had planned to perform despicable acts with TDO involving multiple bottles of ketchup and mustard. The spot concludes with the TV host asking, "There's relish in the car isn't there?"
The Docter Twins demonstrate their satiric craft in the shooting of this spot by having it mimic the security camera feel of the MSNBC show. Using a series of simple cuts, the Twins give the impression that the footage is being shot on secret "hidden" cameras that the predator is unaware of.
"The spots were really fun to make!" said the Docter Twins. "The agency had a clear vision of what they wanted, and everyone at DUCK was very supportive in helping us guide that vision. Working with Lane and Jan was a pleasure. We are extremely excited have DUCK's amazing resources at our fingertips. It opens up endless creative possibilities."
DUCK Studios Production Credits:Directors: Docter TwinsAnimation Directors: Lane & JanExecutive Producer: Mark MedernachProducer: Jim O'DonnellDirector of Photography: Simon ThirlawayProduction Designer: Justin TraskEditor: Melissa TimmeAnimators: Jim Richardson, Tom Roth, Eric Molina, Jan Chen, Lane Nakamura, Dony PermediModeling and Rigging: Brandon PerlowLighting and Texturing: Huyen Dang, Stephen HensleyCompositing and FX: Joe Kim
Agency: DGWB AdvertisingCreative Director: Jon GotholdWriter: Steve HarbourArt Director: Joe CladisAgency Producer: Scott Seltzer