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Renegade Animation Keeps Dodge Trucks' Ram Tough

Renegade Animation provided the animation for a new spot for Dodge RAM trucks in which the automakers RAM logo sends a mischievous decal an unambiguous message to "piss off." Conceived by BBDO Detroit, the commercial centers on the familiar decal of a boy peeing that springs to life on the back window of a Dodge RAM. Mixing live action with animation, "Dont Mess" opens on a black Dodge RAM truck pulling into a desert gas station. When the driver gets out, the outline of a boy in a baseball hat appears on the back window and makes his way across the glass. The boy looks left and right, drops his fly and is about to do the deed when the trucks red, rams head logo awakens. It snorts and butts the startled boy right off the window. The boy and RAM decals reappear in the spots end tag. For Renegade Animation, the fun involved animating a character that millions of people know but only as a single static image. "The challenge lay in imagining what that character would look like and how he would act if he came to life," said director Darrell Van Citters. "And when he comes to life, he doesnt take on form and substance. He stays in a flat, decal world. It was a lot of fun for us to work in that space." The "decal world" did, however, present certain technical hurdles. One was the fact that the character moves on a glass surface. "You needed to see through the character," Van Citters explained. In pre-production, Renegades team spoke with the director of photography for the live-action production, Kirk Bachman, about how to handle the glass surface. Bachman adjusted the lighting he used so that the interior of the vehicle seen through the glass would appear in soft focus so as not to distract from the animation. In animating the RAM logo, Renegade kept the essence of the stylized logo, allowing the ram to briefly come to life, snort and dispatch the troublemaking kid.

Agency: BBDO Detroit, Troy, Mich. Steve Glinsky, art director; Dave Collucci, copywriter; Michael Menlo, executive producer; Amy Stanfield, account supervisor; Rick Dennis and Sam Sefton, creative directors; Bill Morden, chief creative officer; Hugh Broder, director of broadcast.

Animation: Renegade Animation, Burbank, Calif. Darrell Van Citters, director; Ashley Postlewaite, executive producer; Nate Pacheco, creative engineer.

Production Companies: Opening footage: Johnson Burnett Productions, Hollywood, Calif. Kirk Bachmann, co-director (with Darrell Van Citters of Renegade Animation)/director of photography; Biff Johnson, executive producer; Lindy Lucas, producer.

Running footage: Film Realité, Santa Monica, Calif. Kirk Bachmann, director/director of photography; Rich Epstein, executive producer; Brad English, producer.

Editing Company: Universal Images, Southfield, Michigan. Darryl Bartlett, editor; Brian Metler, assistant editor.

Music Company: "To Get Down" by Timo Maas, licensed from Kinetic Records, New York.

Post Facility: Universal Images, Southfield, Michigan. Darryl Bartlett, editor.

Postique, Southfield, Michigan. Eric Mauer, colorist.

Audio Post House: Gold Sound, Southfield, Michigan. Warren Munsey, engineer/mixer.