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Hornet Animates New Angels Campaign for BMW X5

Elevating its position as a leading 3D animation company, Hornet Inc. recently completed ANGELS, an advertising campaign for the new BMW X5 and Fallon Worldwide. The package includes TV, print, interactive, merchandising and point-of-sale elements for BMW.

The :30 spot debuts Nov. 3, 2003 featuring 3D-animated angels designed by renowned character designer Peter de Sève (FINDING NEMO and ICE AGE). De Sève is also an accomplished illustrator, whose work often appears on the cover of THE NEW YORKER.

Hornet animation director Steve Talkowski oversaw the entire campaign. Before working on the BMW project, Talkowski also played a key role in ICE AGE. Director Nico Beyer (CHASED BY COWBOYS) shot the live action. Technologies used included: Maya Version 5, Mental Ray, Shake, Photoshop and Avid.

The spot opens with Hornet's four animated "guardian angels" descending on the new BMW X5, each watching over a tire. The angel team leader commands his group over headsets. As he shouts out orders, the angels respond with "Got it" and "I'm on it." The team confidently oversees the tires, as the car tackles water, ice and a giant patch of mud. In the end, the team leader, splattered with mud, wipes his face and proclaims, "Man, I love this job!"

"A lot of technology is easier for non-engineers to understand when you use a metaphor," said Bruce Bildstein, creative director, Fallon. "So once the creative team came up with the guardian angels metaphor for xDrive, it immediately led us to animation. We knew animation could make it charming without being corny. When we learned that Peter de Sève and much of the rest of the team at Hornet had worked on one of our favorite animated films, ICE AGE, we knew they were the right ones to execute the animation.It was a very technical shoot which required precise coordination with the live action production, but they pulled it off flawlessly."

"This is a breakout spot for a new company like Hornet," added Michael Feder, exec producer/partner, Hornet. "We couldn't ask for a better agency and brand to work with on our first large scale character animation spot. Fallon trusted us and allowed our team's input on everything from the music to the live action. The ANGELS work shows our capabilities in character design, animation and seamless CG integration. It also represents the company moving to the next level and launches the commercial careers of Peter de Sève and Steve Talkowski."

With studios in Los Angeles, New York and an affiliated partner in New Zealand, Hornet Inc. ( is a commercial, film and design company that works with a roster of leading artists and directors to create computer animation, visual effects, motion graphics and live-action film.

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Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.