Building on last years successful ''I Wanna Go to Friendlys'' campaign for Friendlys restaurants and Zimmerman Advertising, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, motion graphics + live action studio nailgun* recently revisited and expanded the unique 'still-photo-meets-stop-motion-animation' look to create Friendlys Factory, a new 30 second spot that highlights the restaurant chains kid-friendly menu. ''The idea was to create a food factory where the kids can make exactly what they want, including the healthier choices of fruits and vegetables,'' says Michael Waldron, Creative Director at nailgun*. ''We returned to the stop motion style we used for last years campaign, but we had many improvements in mind.'' While the original campaign had four animated kids dropping in on a Friendlys location in the middle of the night, ''Friendlys Factory'' puts firmly in charge of the entire chains kids menu. Like the first campaign, the environments resemble hand-drawn doodles on lined paper, while the animated characters are made up of still photographs of real children. Groups of kids arrive in helicopters, climbing down ropes to enter the imaginative food factory. In stop motion style, more children dance around excitedly to the ''I Wanna Go To Friendlys'' theme song before hitting the factory On switch and setting the conveyor belts running. The churning machinery comes up with ''Vol-cone-o Sundaes,'' ''groovy apple slices,'' ''chicken with a pop'' and other delicacies. ''We created a number of illustrations of the factory,'' says Waldron. ''It was a fun process going through the exterior and interior with the client and combining our ideas. We ended up with this cool, Willie Wonka meets Friendlys look. After designing the look of the environments it was time to find some kids to populate.'' Casting four actors to join the quartet from the original spot, Waldron directed an unusual one-day shoot. ''My first job as director was to help the talent understand what we were doing,'' he says. ''I showed them the storyboards and explained that, even though we were using a still camera, we didnt want them to pose. Instead, we wanted them to use all the movement and energy they would for a video camera. Once they understood what we were going for, their performances were fantastic.'' With the experience of last years campaign to guide them, the nailgun* team developed a new system to capture multiple perspectives and angles of the children as they romped around. Real ropes and trampolines were also included on the cyclorama set, helping the kids get further into character. ''We used a looser style on this spot, says Erik van der Wilden, Director of Editorial + Animation at nailgun*. ''This was definitely not meant to be a standard, smooth composite. There is a mix of hold and linear keyframing in the animation that results in a nice blend of staccato and fluid movement. The interesting thing is that, despite being jittery, this technique catches the kids personalities and feelings more accurately than a simple video would. The enlarged heads immediately connect viewers with kids emotions and excitement.''
Agency: Zimmerman Advertising, Fort Lauderdale, FL Design/Production: nailgun*, New York Creative Director: Michael Waldron Director of Animation + Editorial: Erik van der Wilden Managing Director/Executive Producer: Elena Olivares Music: Barton:Holt, Los Angeles Composer: Michael Smidi Smith Executive Producer: Hugh Barton Creative Director: Sean Holt Production Manager: Ryan Amen