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J.J. Sedelmaier Goes Back To The Future With The Jetsons

J.J. Sedelmaier Productions is bringing a classic look to iconic cartoon characters in a new spot for Arnold in New York and GlaxoSmithKline's Tums brand, starring the original space-age family, THE JETSONS.

The spot, for Tums New Quik Pak, also marks the studio's status as an approved Warner Brothers animation producer.

The spot follows the same familiar plot line of many of the show's episodes. First, we meet George Jetson. He reclines in his easy chair, watching TV with his faithful Astro at his side. Rosie the Robot brings George his lunch -- a chili dog with the works (delivered in futuristic pill form, of course). When the chili dog gives George heartburn, Rosie returns with Tums Quik Pak, a fast-action heartburn remedy in powder form. The spot closes with Astro barking out the brand's familiar jingle.

The Jetsons' characters, legendary Hanna-Barbera creations, are now part of the Time-Warner catalog of intellectual properties. When Arnold came up with the idea of using the characters in the campaign, NY-based Sedelmaier was a natural choice. His studio has a long history of animating established characters from TV series, print cartoons and comic strips.

"Warner Bros. owns a huge library, and has its own animation studio as well," Sedelmaier said. "They license these characters and in some cases do the animation themselves, but they've also authorized a select group of studios to work with these characters. As an approved studio for Nickelodeon, we've produced work starring Ren and Stimpy and other Nicktoons staples. We've also recreated UNDERDOG, JONNY QUEST and SPEED RACER, as well as countless icons for SNL and Comedy Central. So when it came to THE JETSONS, our reputation preceded us, as well as having such tremendous support from Arnold/New York."

As an approved Warner Bros. animation studio, JJSP is now authorized to work with the many characters in the Time-Warner family.

For Tums, Sedelmaier and his team examined the evolution of the look of the characters to arrive at the right feel for the spot.

"We have lots of Jetsons reference material, including a large library of model sheets," says Sedelmaier. "We wanted to make this look like the original cartoon, not just a modern use of the characters. We wanted to make sure we were using model sheets from an earlier time in the characters' history, but we then employed modern devices and techniques to produce them."

The studio experimented with a variety of digital techniques to re-create some of the subtle elements of the series' classic cel animation. "Anyone who really knows animation will notice some of these things," Sedelmaier said. One example is the subtle color variations throughout the spot, used to simulate the discreet shifts in color that would occur in multiple layers of cel animation.

Sedelmaier explained, "There's a visual phenomenon that happened with cel-based animation where, when layers of cels were placed on top of each other to shoot, the act of moving each cel around to produce motion -- say an arm or a leg -- would create a slight shift in color. Now that everyone uses digital ink and paint, the result you see is very clean and uniform. We tried to re-create some of those subtleties of cel animation, to bring a more classic look to the piece."

In addition to working with classic characters, the studio has been able to collaborate with old friends, such as long-time audio collaborator Fred Weinberg Productions. Weinberg's studio used traditional Hanna-Barbera sound effects to create the sound design, as well as building an authentic-sounding music score and even canned laughter.


Advertising Agency: Arnold/NYCCreative Director: John StaffenSVP Exec. Producer: Tim SpeidelProducer: Katie KellyArt Director: Sig GrossCopywriter: Betsy GuerroBusiness Manager: Lenie GramovotAnimation Company: J.J. Sedelmaier ProductionsDirector/Producer: J.J. SedelmaierExec. Producer/Bus. Manager: Patrice SedelmaierConsultant: Jerry BeckHead Animators: Dave Lovelace, Dan MadiaAnimators/Assistants: Claire Widman, Gene DeCicco, Zero, Janine Cotter, John Bonarrigo, Max GarciaDigital Ink & Paint/Composite: Dave LipsonSound Design/Music Company: Fred Weinberg Productions, Fred Weinberg, Peter FishPost Production/Edit: Manic NYCExec. Producer: Charles SelfAudio Engineer/Mixer: Stephane GuyotVisual EFX Artist: Nick SassoVisual FFX Artist Johnny StaraceVoices: Jeff Bergman, Tress Macneille, Laura Frazier