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Puppets Go Wild, Al Roker Is Stunned

London-based stop-motion animation production company Loose Moose was responsible for one of the coolest ads that debuted during the Super Bowl - the BRISK iced tea spot featuring a puppet uprising. The companys latest commercial in the six year Pepsi-Lipton BRISK campaign for J. Walter Thompson, New York is a 60-second spot called "DeVito," starring a puppet Danny DeVito and featuring the actor as his own voice talent. Co-stars were the regular cast of BRISK characters including Burgess Meredith, Phil Morris (the "Jackie Chiles" character from SEINFELD) and James Brown. This year, for the first time, the commercial was in color and incorporated live-action celebrities, actors and locations. The original black-and-white puppet animation BRISK campaign helps serve the comic twist in this years spot, where during a commercial shoot with the Danny DeVito puppet, the management of Pepsi-Lipton decides the product is now so good they can do without the puppets. "You puppets are fired!" growls the TV commercial director to an irate Danny DeVito puppet. "Nobody fires Danny DeVito," comes the puppets reply and he storms off across the studio floor. The remainder of the commercial shows news footage and television reports of increasingly angry puppets protesting, culminating in puppets rioting and live-action reporter Al Roker being splattered with tomatoes and eggs. With a meaningful look Danny DeVito turns his head toward camera and says, "This is far from over!" The live-action celebrities and puppet mayhem locations were filmed in Los Angeles during October 2001, the foreground stop-frame celebrity puppets were filmed in November and December in London. Ken Lidster directed and Glenn Holberton produced for Loose Moose. Live-action directed by Baker Smith of Harvest, Los Angeles. Stop-frame puppet animation was done by Ken Lidster, Ange Palethorpe, Phil Dale and Andy Joule. MacKinnon and Saunders, from Manchester in the U.K., made the puppets, and the sets and props were by Artem in London. Forty background protesting and rioting "puppet" characters were created and animated using Maya by Loose Moose CGI animators Dotti Colvin and John Shearlock.