Philips Norelco recently re-created its long-running, stop-motion holiday commercial from the early 1990s. Santa’s epic ride over the snow-covered hills is now accomplished atop Philips Norelco’s new SensoTouch 3D rechargeable electric razor.
Ad agency Walton Isaacson created the :30 and :15 commercials that pay homage to the success of the original campaign. Originally conceived as an interactive campaign, on seeing the early results of the melding of classic stop-motion work with the modern tools of 3D animation and compositing, the Philips Norelco marketing team decided to include the commercial in their 2011 holiday broadcast schedule.
Walton Isaacson’s senior creative Andrew Holton, and designer, Diana Litavsky, along with freelance producer Nathan Brown of Nathan Brown Productions contracted re:think studios to modernize the campaign.
“For this campaign to be successful, the imagery had to be very respectful of the look and feel of that classic campaign,” said Brian Bullock, re:think studios’ director of CGI. “Normally, we’d have created an entirely CG spot, but for this, we wanted to respect the physical camera as well as the artistry of stop-motion modelers, so we began to think of ways to build upon and supplement the craftsmanship of stop-motion filmmaking.”
He explained that re:think enlisted the talents of the award-winning BixPix Entertainment in Burbank, CA, who fabricated the sets and a cast of characters in record time.
“Bix Pix’s Drew Hodges directed and animated all the stop motion in their Burbank studio, zipped the files to us overnight, and from there we went to work modeling and animating the 3D razor, creating all the matte paintings for backgrounds, fashioning elements that helped bring the scenes to life, and finally editing, compositing and lighting the final piece,” explained Bullock. “I have to say, with our company so focused on high-end 3D design, modeling, and animation, finding ourselves working on a stop-motion piece was a blast for everyone, including re:think founder, Jessica Simmon, who edited and assembled the final composite, as well as the folks at Another Country, who did a fabulous job with the sound design.”
“Bix Pix is thrilled that Brian saw the value of re-creating this classic gem in stop-motion animation,” said Kelli Bixler, executive producer/owner of Bix Pix Entertainment. “His call, just three short weeks ago, set our studio in holiday mode, 24/7! Not only was bringing Santa to life great fun, but we got to introduce two new characters to this quintessential campaign – Santa’s Elf and Reindeer, who just so happen to both be in need of a good shave.”
“Our hope is that next year we have the time to further push the boundaries in melding these disparate disciplines because we all had a ball with it,” Bullock added.