Under the direction of EVP and senior creative director Sig Gross and his colleagues from ArnoldNYC, bicoastal U.S. creative production company Stardust Studios recently produced a colorful spot for Hershey Canada's Ice Breakers Mints. Stardust West creative director Brad Tucker directed, and Jonathan Wu served as Stardust's art director, for the :15 spot entitled "A State of Mouth," which debuted exclusively in Canada in April, where it will continue to run for the foreseeable future.
Arnold's project team also included creative director Betsy Guerro, and producer Marianne Toniolo. "The brief for this project was to create a spot that appealed to the 18-24 year old market," Tucker explained.
"They wanted a confident hero to take the viewer on a journey unlike anything they had seen before," Wu added, "and they wanted to utilize an illustration style that talked to this audience, utilizing cel animation yet not appearing too cartoony."
The spot begins with live-action footage of actor Gavin Beasley reaching into a package of Ice Breakers and grabbing a mint. When he puts the mint in his mouth, the visuals quickly transform him and his background with a unique animation approach, featuring hand-drawn illustrations and cel animation.
For their production approach, Tucker and director of photography captured live-action footage during a one-day shoot, using the RED ONE digital cinema camera and shooting Beasley and the Ice Breakers packaging on a green-screen stage. "All of the animation was created entirely by hand, so finding cel animators willing to take-on the challenge was a difficult task," said Wu. "Then, compositing the cel animation to keep the spot seamless was another challenge. Instead of cel animating the entire spot, we broke it into elements that could then be composited together to achieve the final look."
"We've been experimenting more and more with cel animation and are really finding it to be a fun and exciting technique," added Tucker. "We hope to do more of it in the future."