To launch the new Ford C-MAX Hybrids, with the goal of breaking through the Prius-dominated hybrid market, leaders from Team Detroit have introduced a series of broadcast spots, short brand films and other cross-media campaign assets featuring the world-famous La Linea character from the Milan-based Quipos agency.
“The challenge we faced was developing a simple, breakthrough C-MAX Hybrids campaign highlighting fuel economy in an environment of high gas prices,” said Bradley Hensen, Team Detroit’s creative director. “La Linea lives out frustrations customers traditionally faced with hybrids, and is rewarded as the animator draws the C-MAX Hybrid’s innovative solutions, echoing how the character has overcome challenges for more than 40 years.”
Two of four :30 spots recently launched on television. In the campaign’s spots, the styling, horsepower, fuel-efficiency and more advanced features of the C-MAX Hybrids help La Linea overcome many frustrations presented by other hybrid vehicles. While the character makes the brand’s points very effectively, the creatives also wanted to transition into live-action footage showing the C-MAX on the road. To collaborate with Quipos and handle the project’s ambitious production, visual effects and postproduction challenges, Team Detroit chose creative production company Shilo and its co-founder and director Jose Gomez.
For the production, the first step was sending Gomez and Shilo executive producer Arthur Portnoy to Milan to meet with the principals of Quipos, including general director Coleta Goria Ravoni. “La Linea is generally known to be a masterpiece of animation,” Portnoy said. “Created by the late Osvaldo Cavandoli more than 40 years ago, the character is adored by fans of television and films all around the world. Since its debut, Coleta and Quipos have represented La Linea, so we were able to learn directly from the source how to easily navigate the intangible qualities of the beloved character.”
With Shilo’s executives back in America, the international collaboration continued with many phone calls to Milan, and production got underway in Shilo’s West and East Coast studios. “From the beginning, we were very focused on the direction of La Linea’s actions, especially given the importance of the transition to live-action,” Gomez explained. “We focused on conveying the message of each spot in the most powerful ways, and ensuring that we maintained the right tone in all the elements. Our art director Colin McGreal was immensely helpful in keeping everything consistent.”
For the 2D animation, Shilo’s artists previsualized the content and handled all rounds of revisions with Team Detroit and the Ford clients, before handing the approved creative over to Quipos to create the final animation.
Meanwhile, Gomez and director of photography Jordan Valenti led a large-scale, live-action shoot in San Diego, where the C-MAX was captured driving through the city. On location, Shilo’s team used the ARRI Alexa digital camera system to shoot HD source footage and a crane car called “the pursuit system.” Editorial began in Shilo’s La Jolla studio before moving to New York to coincide with visual effects, compositing, finishing and sound design.
“We truly had a stellar team of animators, compositors, and 3D artists onboard for the transitions for this campaign,” Gomez said. “Once the edit was locked, they integrated the final moments of the 2D animation previs with their 2D and 3D renders and passed the final cleanup, composite and conform over to Flame artist Nic Seresin. To optimize the transition animation and ensure the highest quality for the composite, we brought in a Flame suite specifically for this project.”