KA-BAR, whose famed Fighting Utility Knife was carried by the US Marine Corps in WWII, has released its first ad campaign in the company’s 125 year-old history. Directed by Joshua Frankel through Charleston-based Rawle Murdy the three-spot campaign highlights astounding KA-BAR testimonials brought to life in the form of animated tattoos. The first spot that breaks this week is D-DAY. We follow a hardass private in the 29th Infantry Division of the US Army as he storms the beaches of Normandy. He empties his magazine into the first enemy foxhole he finds – only to take a bullet in his right shoulder, going down hard. He bores out the bullet from his shoulder with his trusty KA-BAR blade before we learn the animated soldier is the narrator’s own grandfather, all along animated on his own chest. “60 years later he gave it to me. He’s why I serve,” says the man. “KA-BAR has an unbelievable military heritage,” explains West Herford, Director of Consumer Insights and Brand Planning at Rawle Murdy. “Every soldiers who stormed the D-Day beaches carried a KA-BAR so the company has a tremendous brand.” KA-BAR approached Rawle Murdy to expand the brand beyond its core military base and appeal to hunters, fishermen and outdoorsmen. The agency spent months talking to KA-BAR owners, and soon discovered they never shied away from adversity. “They actually welcome the challenge,” adds Hereford. “It’s the mindset of a true KA-BAR owner.” Frankel began by shaping different visual concepts for the campaign. One of Frankel’s treatments, animated tattoos, felt right from day one. “A tattoo is a very primal thing and plugs directly into the testimonials,” he says. “Celebrating triumph through the beauty and pain of a tattoo is ancient and powerful, pointing back as far as cave paintings.” “We animated the tattoo illustrations by hand. That handmade imagery was then added to the bodies using CG, where we also created various swelling and reddening effects on the skin. Although we used fairly sophisticated technology the effect is organic in feel.” “We all felt the tattoo would be a great visualization because it’s a badge, much in the same way that a KA-BAR is a badge to its owners,” adds Hereford on the final concept. The “KA-BAR: Hardcore Lives. Hardcore Knives” campaign also features HUNTER and CAMPING, both continuing the elegantly animated tattoo feel to highligh the benefits of using he KA-BAR blade under life threatening circumstances.
Director: Joshua Frankel Production Company: Earthworm Producer: Elissa Federoff DP : Jeff Barnett-Winsby Sound: John Moros Post: Omega Darling Creative Director: Zach Shukan Illustration: Damara Kaminecki, Johnnie Kravetz, Brett Zarro Hand Animation: Henry Hilaire Compositors: Dan DiFelice, David Sarma Design: Azusa Kobayashi, Luka Romel Agency: Rawle Murdy Creative Director: Rich Terry Associate Creative Director / Copy: Henry Mathieu Account: West Herford