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Imaginary Forces' Karin Fong Directs Animated Super Bowl Ad Campaign

For the second year in a row, Imaginary Forces Karin Fong designed and directed an eye-catching, imaginative series of TV spots from ad agency Kelliher Samets Volk for Vermonts Chittenden Bank for Super Bowl viewers in New England.

As with last years campaign, the spots focus on hip, iconoclastic Vermont businesses that have grown with the help and guidance of Chittenden. The spots employ a mix of production and visual effects techniques designed to make them stand out not.

The campaign consists of four spots that focus on three separate businesses. In Where does the best music come from? viewers learn how Chittenden helps Advance Music, a mecca for everything from local garage bands to touring superstars. In Homemade Chef. Homemade Oven, the focus is on the banks socially responsible relationship with American Flatbread, a pizza business renowned for its homemade dough. In A Perfect Fit, two transplanted New Yorkers turned to Chittenden to nurture Zutano, their fast-growing childrens wear boutique. And, in Perfectly Designed, Chittenden uses its deep relationship with the Zutano founders to highlight its sophisticated wealth management products and services.

Fong said that what IF brought to the new campaign was an extension of the approach the studio employed last year: A lot of what we did the first time around was hand-made, and the agency loved the aesthetic of that work, she says, citing the mix of collage graphics and hand drawn yet computer manipulated art.

We wanted to push that feeling this year, she continued. When I read the scripts, what came through was that these were stories about D-I-Y entrepreneurs. I thought it would be interesting if we built each spot out of the materials the business owners used in building their own companies.

The spot that highlights Advanced Music features photocopies of ticket stubs and posters of club dates for Vermont garage bands, along with real 3D objects animated in stop motion, sometimes in conjunction with cutout or photocopied collage art. The spot for American Flatbread relies on dough to form most of the animated characters that drive the action in the spot. In A Perfect Match, the entire backdrop for the spot and all the objects seen in it are made of buttons, fabrics, zippers, pins and other building blocks of the garment trade, reflecting the stores emphasis on contemporary clothes and accessories for kids.

The stop-motion work was shot at IFs offices in New York, where the conference room was converted into a makeshift studio where Fong and her team of animators, modelmakers and designers constructed detailed models and dioramas.

Much of the hand-made elements were shot in live action, with lots of the effects done in camera, according to Fong. Often the images were then ported into graphics suites, where they were massaged and manipulated to produce the final results. I love this combination of low-tech and high-tech, she adds. Its great when you cant tell where one technique ends and another begins. We find that we get our best results when we mix these processes together. In this instance, we felt it just fit the narratives perfectly, while also matching the idiosyncratic, maverick feel of the companies that we were featuring.

Chittenden Credits:

Client: Chittenden Bank

Agency: Kelliher Samets Volk

Creative director/copywriter: Bill Drew

Art director: Brad Harrison

Producer: Tamara Jones

Design & production Co.: Imaginary Forces

Director: Karin Fong

Art director: Dana Yee

Designers/illustrators/modelmakers: Arisu Kashiwagi, Joey Salim, Jeremy Cox, Daryn Wakasa, Alex Reyes, Lucien Yang, Jennifer Shainin, Dana Yee, Fong

Animators: Arisu Kashiwagi, Joey Salim, Daryn Wakasa, Alex Reyes, Lucien Yang, Dana Yee

Director of photography: Joey Salim

Editor: Corey Weisz

Exec producer: Maribeth Phillips

Producers: Carla Sacks, Brian Sullivan

Coordinator: Emily Branham

Music Company: Pulse Music, New York

Composers: Pismo, Rich DeCicco, Stephen Grywalski, Joel Kipnis

Imaginary Forces ( is an entertainment and design company based in Hollywood and New York. Its award-winning work spans feature film production, entertainment marketing and promotion, corporate branding, architecture, advertising and interactive media. IFs recent work includes identity packages for USA Network, Animal Planet and MTV, as well as broadcast advertising for Nike, Toyota, Pontiac, Smirnoff and Lexus. In entertainment and media marketing, IF created campaigns for such films as TRANSFORMERS, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, THE STEPFORD WIVES, THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, SIGNS and both MEN IN BLACK films. The company also designed and produced main title sequences for WE ARE MARSHALL, THE BREAK-UP, THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO, RAY, THE LEGEND OF ZORRO, BAND OF BROTHERS, SPIDER-MAN, DR. SEUSS THE CAT IN THE HAT AND SEVEN, and produced the highly successful BLADE trilogy.