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R!OT And Brand New School Are Wild For Heinz

R!OT artists have teamed with creatives from the design boutique Brand New School to create two spots for a new line of Heinz EZ Squirt flavored ketchup. Conceived by Leo Burnett, Chicago, each of the spots is chock full of sight gags, nonsequiturs and silliness. "Squirrel" opens with a man in a Viking outfit carrying a princess across a cheesy set as a leprechaun tosses gold dust in the air. What follows are quick cuts of a pork chop, a squirrel, a flock of geese and a man covered in mustard. Its tough to explain how it all fits together or how it relates to flavored ketchup -- but, according to the creators anyway, it does. When Leo Burnett brought the project to Brand New School, they came with scripts consisting of funny sound bites. "They left it up to us to decide how each one was done visually," explained Brand New School director Chris Dooley. "Wed have a line like, a hot dog might become irritated, and we would come up with a way to show that. A lot of times, it was just coming up with something that we thought was funny. The agency creatives were very supportive and had a similar mindset. We were amused by the same things." Some of the sight gags are pure graphic treatments, some are live-action and others combine various mediums. Brand New School produced the live-action and created much of the animation in-house, while the visual effects and post work was done at R!OT by Inferno artist Claus Hansen and colorist Clark Muller. "A lot of the material is meant to look like found footage, as though it came from public access television, or intercepted from a satellite broadcast," Dooley explained. "For those scenes, we asked Clark to degrade the image. In one instance, after transferring the material to tape, we dumped off a copy to half-inch, then digitized it to create the look of a low quality video." Similarly, Hansen added grain and desaturated certain scenes to suggest a seat of the pants production. He also crafted numerous visual effects for the two spots. In one case, he animated a pair of chickens feet to make it appear as though the hen is signing its name. He took the image of a kid eating pizza, replicated it nine times and arranged the copies in a pattern across the screen to form a kind of op-art collage. "It was a lot of fun," added Hansen, "and that inspired all of us to do our best work." He noted that few spots offer an opportunity to work on such a rich array of visuals or to contribute to so much silliness. As he put it, "Anytime you have a chance to work with dwarves and ninjas, I would encourage it."