Calabash Animation recently teamed with Lightspeed Group, Villanova, PA, to create “More Than A Freezer” – a humorous, three-minute animated romantic comedy/viral short starring two e-coli bacteria lovebirds separated by cryo vials set to the rock classic “More Than A Feeling” by Boston for new Thermo Scientific ultra-low temperature freezers.
While it may seem strange for company like Thermo Fisher Scientific to do something as irreverent as “More Than A Freezer,” Andrew Dunn, the company’s cold storage marketing manager noted they were looking to do something out of the ordinary with the marketing of its new line of ultra low temperature freezers.
“Many in the science industry are very web savvy and visit video websites like YouTube a lot,” said Dunn. “We wanted to create something that would cut through the clutter, but also stayed on message about what the product does and why it’s a breakthrough for our industry. Calabash helped breathe a lot of life into this project, and are a big reason why we’ve gotten so many hits on YouTube.”
Dunn initially came to Michele Casale, president/executive producer at Lightspeed Group with just the licensed track of “More Than A Feeling” and a goal to create something that would make an impact. Casale’s team came up with the concept of a music video approach, and turned to Calabash Animation, a company she had worked with previously, to explore the concept of a shattered romance between a guitar-strumming e-coli and his beautiful bacteria girlfriend.
“Calabash understood what we were trying to do,” Casale said. “[Creative director] Wayne Brejcha always seemed to be two steps ahead of us. No matter what we asked or suggested he seemed to know where we were going, and had a great idea on how to get there. From a production standpoint, it was a fun project and wonderful experience.”
Executive producer Sean Henry noted that Calabash had been looking for something web based they could sink their teeth into when Casale called with this intriguing concept.
“We tried to avoid any style queue or be overly retro,” said Henry. “Rather it’s a contemporary, approachable look very much in line with what you see in pop culture today. It was quirky story, which was a lot of fun for us as storytellers. Michele gave us basic outline of the story and let us have some fun with it – adding details and comedic flourishes that made the piece more entertaining.”
Henry added they also paid close attention to the e-coli characters and making them memorable. So much so that Thermo Scientific has incorporated the main characters – affectionately known as Bacteria Boy and Marianne – into their website and marketing materials.
“We focused on giving the e-coli their own personalities and brand these characters in a way that they could have a life beyond the short, whether on merchandise or marketing,” said Henry. “We’ve worked with so many established brand icons over the years, but we’ve always wanted to create a brand icon from scratch, and this project gave us the chance to do that.”