Sliced Bread Animation have been commissioned by Sony Europe to produce a 24-part original online animation series to be broadcast weekly exclusively on the My Sony magazine Website (www.sony.co.uk/trona).
The series entitled TRONA stars five characters who represent distinct emotional characteristics. As well as an emotional characteristic each "Tronite" represents unique a selling point associated with Sony products that supports the strength of the brand: optimism, playfulness, ingenuity, and inspiration. The little Tronite critters appear in a new episode every week until May 2005. Viewers are encouraged to register to watch any previous episodes they might have missed and to find out more about the characters and the animation team behind it.
After a field of five animation companies was narrowed down to just two, Sliced Bread won the My Sony job. The commissioner, My Sony manager Deborah Womack, chose the Sliced Bread team because she thought "Sliced Bread were exceptional in that they recognize and utilize marketing theory as an essential tool to deliver the best solutions for clients such as Sony. Whereas we would normally arrive at a solution by talking to marketing agencies, Sliced Bread were able to deliver on both our objectives: create a buzz around the My Sony membership program and acquire new members. We saw several very well executed creative ideas -- and some did allude to ways in which an online animated series could elicit new members. However Sliced Bread went further. They seemed to get inside the Sony brand first to understand what makes people (our customers) tick. They then delivered a proposal that not only suggested excellent creative characterizations and plot lines, but was supported by interesting and forward thinking research."
To drive new viewers to Trona, online creative agency Tonic have created an intriguing banner advertising campaign on MSN Messenger, Hotmail and Entertainment , MTV, as well as free-to-choose Boomerang postcards featuring the Tronites distributed in bars, restaurants, cinemas and cafes in the UK, France and Germany.
The Sliced Bread team have so far completed 10 episodes entitled Birth/ Seed/ Food/ Music/ God/ MP3/ Gift/ Printer Party/ Parallel and Mobile plus a interactive special, "Where's Booster?"
The original TRONA character designs and storyboards were created by Austrian senior designer and company director Christina Vilics based on the understanding that they needed to work on the Web and appeal to adults and young adults alike. Storylines for the episodes were imagined by Dylan Owen who worked closely with Vilics and character animator Louis Glickman to bring the ideas to life.
Dylan said, " I would describe the stories in general as having a questing nature. The characters of TRONA are -- whatever their individual emotions and personalities -- always exploring. They use their imagination to evolve within the world they find themselves in _ this is another key theme."
Director Jamie Denham added, "Our biggest challenge was being able to complete 30 seconds of animation a week, breaking the boundaries of animation production. We work closely with the Deborah and the My Sony team and that helps immensely. But we are so proud to have our work shown on the Website of one of the biggest brands in the World!!! The Tronites are like a family and we have enjoyed watching them grow!!"