Pringles and Procter & Gamble wanted to liven up its advertising, so agency Grey/Worldwide commissioned visual effects company The Syndicate to bring the mustachioed brand icon, Mr. P., to life in two spots, one employing a mixture of 2D and 3D animation, the other an all-CG production. In "Where's Your Head At," the titular Basement Jaxx song is the score for three roaming teens who munch on Pringles while Mr. P. sings along to the chorus from his home on the Pringle's package. In creating the animated character, The Syndicate lead animator Domenic DiGiorgio found himself challenged with granting personality to a logo. "There are limits to what I could do with Mr. P. because, after all, he's just a head wearing a bow-tie," said DiGiorgio. "We had to give him enough attitude to match the song, so I exaggerated the available elements, which boiled down to his head, mouth and eyes. I had him tip his head back as if he was really belting it out, then move towards camera so it seems he could pop off of the pack at any moment." DiGiorgio also found a challenge in the closing shot, in which Mr. P. rests in a backpack as its owner walks off into the sunset. "The other shots [where the actors held the can] were easier to track because the can remained fairly still and we could track in 2D," said DiGiorgio. "But in the last shot the can was bouncing all over the place. I had to go at it the old-fashioned way, hand tracking the scene frame by frame in 3D. Sometimes it's easier to put aside the fancy software packages and just do things by hand." The second spot, "Crunchy Pringles Boys" (:15), takes its cue from the "Soggy Bottom Boys" of O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? fame, with three Pringles cans singing the praises of new Pringles Sweet Mesquite chips in an all-CG production. "This spot had to do with setting and personality," said DiGiorgio. "We had to create and establish a dusty old West locale where the cans perform." Although animator Jim Arthurs left out the moose head, his three dimensional interpretation of an old time music hall was spot-on to art director Glenn Hiramatsu's vision. "Upon learning about the concept, I dug up archival footage to see how these places actually looked," said Hiramatsu. "I used part of a music hall and part of a saloon to evoke an old West atmosphere." Some of the details included a wagon-wheel chandelier and oil lamps illuminating the walls. Di Giorgio, with the help of animators Steve Arguello, Dave Simmons and Minoru Sasaki, toned down the character of the cans for this spot, making them "a little more suave and relaxed."
Credits for The Syndicate include:
Digital Effects Supervisor: David Ebner
Digital Effects Producer: Vicki Galloway Weimer
Executive Producer: Jeff Barnes, Kenny Solomon
Lead Animator: Domenic DiGiorgio