Brand New School, the bicoastal directing collective serving all fields of commercial art, recently teamed with ad agency The Escape Pod to create a vibrant, optimistic theatrical advertisement for OfficeMax. The spot will air only in theaters and is stunning when viewed on the silver screen.
Directed by Brand New School's Ben Go, the sixty seconds comprising "Life is Beautiful" are just that. In a verdant field, a woman casually approaches what appears to be a heavily-laden fruit tree. As a curious raccoon rises to his hindlegs, the woman lifts her hand and plucks not an apple, but a single ball of multi-colored rubber bands. Walking from the field to an all-too-typical low-rise office building filled with non-descript gray cubicles, the woman smiles knowingly as she places the colorful rubber band ball on one of the desks.
Extending its stretchy tendrils, the ball gradually accessorizes the office space with colorful graphics, images, and office supplies. A stylized version of the animals and plants from the field richly adorn the office and its Snow White-like savior. As design elements from the newly revitalized office make their way to the office supplies, elegant text tells us: "Life is beautiful. Work can be too." As the spot closes, the rubber band ball rolls to its rightful place in the OfficeMax logo.
"This spot is meant to appeal to office workers, but particularly to women," explains Go. "Both OfficeMax and The Escape Pod wanted something very graphic, colorful, and elegant. We came up with the concept by thinking about the OfficeMax tagline, which lead us to this very idyllic, natural, and inspiring environment. In opposition to the oppressive drabness of the typical office environment, we were going for a very light, pleasant feeling."
Despite its magical, fantastical overtones, the spot's creation was surprisingly practical. The opening scene in the field was actually shot on a huge stage set with mostly practical elements:
"The only portion of that scene we did in post was the background sky and the mountains in the distance," says Go. "We also composited in some of the elements, including the rubber band ball and a few birds, but mostly it was a full live action shoot. For the office scene, we actually painted all the cubicles that drab gray color."
Of course, the graphical world inspired by the rubber band ball was created with digital technologies, including Autodesk Maya and Flame, together with Adobe Illustrator, After Effects, and Photoshop. Go and his team also created the particularly elegant, florid type that spells out the final tagline.