ADWEEK featured a story on the original animated shorts that DUCK produced for the Young & Rubicam campaign for the U.S. Olympic Committee. The campaign, titled “Raise Our Flag,” is a non-profit advocacy for Americans to donate to Team USA. DUCK produced 10 animated shorts which retell important moments in the lives of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, focused around family, community, friends, and perseverance.
When Leo Burnett Worldwide needed a full-service production studio to create a national spot for Kellogg’s Pop Tarts’ new “Joylicious” campaign, they chose to partner with DUCK directing duo Lane & Jan. In the spot titled “Follow the Leader,” longtime DUCK animators Lane & Jan paired together to create an original set of animated characters. These sophisticated little guys inhabit a black-and-white world until one day their leader returns full of color and happiness after eating a cherry-flavored Pop Tart.
“Lane and Jan have a great history of bringing to life amazing, animated characters for our clients,” explained DUCK EP Mark Medernach. “They delivered an outstanding spot for Leo Burnett with ‘Follow the Leader.’ Within a 30-second window, Lane & Jan built an entire original world and tell a story about the characters who live there.”
While one of the most appealing aspects of Kellogg’s Pop Tarts is the ease by which you prepare them in the toaster for a delicious meal or snack, Lane & Jan’s masterful direction made animating a series of original characters look just as easy. “In creating the little guys for Pop Tarts, we needed to design not just the look of the characters but also how they walk, jump, dance, and move throughout this new world,” explained director Jan Chen.
Working with Autodesk Maya, The Foundry Nuke, Next Limit RealFlow, and Adobe After Effects, Lane & Jan were able to save invaluable amounts of time during the eight weeks of production by rendering the characters on the fly. From a technological standpoint, this rapid reduction in rendering time allowed the directors additional creative time to experiment with a variety of motions for animating the little guys until they settled upon the most apt.
“We had to strike a balance when animating the characters to make sure they’re fun but that they didn’t look too childish,” commented director Lane Nakamura. “We were striving to build appealing characters.”
The “Joylicious” campaign utilizes a multiplatform approach which features the “Follow the Leader” spot and the little guys both on-air as well as online and in social media like Facebook.
Prod Co: DUCK
Directors: Lane Nakamura & Jan Chen
Executive Producer: Mark Medernach
Character Rigging TD: Daniel Erwin
Pipeline TD: Daniel Erwin, Huyen Dang
Animation & Layout: Mark Villagracia, Dave VanderPol, Daniel Erwin, Eric Molina, Yan Ke, Shaun Kim
Designer: Wojtek Szklarski, Ryan Green, Ron Mohavan
Texture artist: Michelle Wibowo, Jean Choi
Modeler: Chris Nolan, Michelle Wibowo
Lighting & Rendering TD: Huyen Dang
Additional Rendering: Joe Langmuir, Patrick Vidal
Compositing: Huyen Dang
Editing: Charles Jones
SFX: Vit Liskutin
Tech support: Andrew Lee
Intern: Jak Koning