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Renegade Animation Hosts “Yard Sale” for Cocoa Puffs
Using a unique blend of classic cel animation, Flash technology and “bird-brained” humor, Renegade Animation has produced a new 30-second spot for General Mills’ Cocoa Puffs cereal. The animated ad, out of Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, also gives a new twist to the cereal’s familiar campaign theme as Sonny, the “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” bird, comes up with a new scheme to kick his chocolaty habit.
In Yard Sale, Sonny decides that the only way he can keep from going “cuckoo” is to sell everything that reminds him of Cocoa Puffs. He posts a sign outside his garage—chock full of chocolate-themed goods. But, when a blue parrot tries to buy a tee shirt emblazoned with a picture of the cereal, the sight sends Sonny round the twist and he shuts himself in the garage with a bowlful of the “munchy, crunchy, chocolaty” breakfast food. Darrell Van Citters directed the spot for Renegade Animation.
In a methodology pioneered by Renegade, the studio’s animation team produced the two characters in the spot as cel animation. Flash was used to produce props and background environments and to composite the elements together. Ink and paint work on the characters was also done in Flash. The process, which Renegade uses to produce the hit series Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi for Cartoon Network, yields significant time and cost savings.
It also offers unique creative advantages. In Yard Sale, Renegade artists used Flash to apply a design aesthetic reminiscent of the classic UPA cartoons of the 1960s, in which environments were often rendered as simple geometric shapes. “We used several unusual, flat transitions in this spot,” observed Renegade Animation technical director Nate Pacheco. In one instance a box of cereal sitting on Sonny’s kitchen table does a flip and in the space of just a few frames transforms itself into a garage. “Flash allows us to give it snappy timing and a traditional feel,” Pacheco added.
Using Flash the way it does also enables Renegade to make quick alterations. For Sonny’s “mad” scene, for example, animators were able to quickly try out a variety of devices to suggest the bird’s delirious state of mind. “We initially put volcanoes in his eyes, then we tried swirls; we tried several different effects,” said Pacheco. “In Flash, we were able to whip it out, see how it looked and get an approval the same day.” To affect a similar change through cel animation might take several days, Pacheco added.
While Flash facilitates the animation process, storytelling and humor drive the spot. Having produced several Cocoa Puffs spots, Renegade finds countless means to exploit Sonny’s frenzied energy in fresh, new ways. In Yard Sale, the bird’s hyperactivity infects even the props, which assemble themselves in his garage as the door springs open. While the colorful, madcap antics are designed to appeal to kids, the animation is rich and clever enough to keep adults interested. Devotees of the Sonny character might recognize the lamp, tee shirt and other items in his garage as General Mills premiums and props from previous ads.
Renegade Animation is located at 116 N. Maryland Ave., Lower, Glendale, CA 91206. For more information, call (818) 551-2351 or visit www.renegadeanimation.com.
Title: Yard Sale
Ad agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, NY Erik Mintz, copywriter; Pat Giles, art director; Hafeez Saheed, producer.
Animation: Renegade Animation, Glendale, California. Darrell Van Citters, director; Ashley Postlewaite, executive producer; Mike Giamo and Frank Montagna, designers; Nate Pacheco, technical director; Scott O’Brien, Bert Klein and Will Finn, animators; Anne Walker, ink & paint; Julia Calantarava, color; Peggy Regan, production manager.
Post production: Pixel Plantation, Rick Greenwald, editor.
Music: Rob Mounsey, composer.
Related Keywords:Renegade animation, Darrell Van Citters, Ashley Postlewaite
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