Arbys Sandwich or Dancing Chimps?

Arby’s Sandwich is portrayed as a captivating snack in a animal-focused visual-effects-laden television advertising campaign launched in April 2007. The first spot, Chimps, features two veterinary scientists in a laboratory, employed to observe the behavior of chimpanzees. One chimp walks to the radio and changes the channel from martial music to Irish jig music. Five chimps jump up together and do a Riverdance impression. The two scientists are spell bound… by two Arby’s sandwiches: chicken salad with pecans and classic BLT.

Scientists stare at sandwiches in Arbys TV Ad

Click on the image below to play the Chimps video.

Believe it or not the dancing chimpanzees are not actual chimps. The production team shot a dancer with a body double in a chimp suit. Rhino VFX then put it all together in Inferno, manipulating body proportions so each looked unique – tracking different textures on the chimp’s body for more realism. There was some very light CG enhancement of the primates faces, but very little.

Chimps in Arbys TV Ad

The chimp suit was created by The Character Shop and featured anatomically correct proportioning, including elongated arms, and incredibly faithful coloration and hair density. Specially designed chimp feet/dance shoes allowed the actor to be nimble on his toes, even though they had opposing thumbs!


The animals are out and they’re invading people zones. A woman has her lunch investigated by an ostrich. Cars at an intersection give way to a herd of zebras. A little girl has her paddling pool invaded by an elephant. Why is it happening? Two zoo keepers sit by an open zoo gate thinking about nothing but their Arby’s BBQ Bacon and Jack Melt sandwiches and how little they cost.

Click on the image below to play the video.

As we watch the zookeepers totally miss the kangaroos hopping through the gate. The voiceover: “When you’re thinking Arby’s, you can’t think of anything else.”

Michael Maccarone is the zookeeper without the glasses.


The Arby’s campaign is being rolled out by Merkley + Partners, New York, by Co-Presidents/creative directors Andy Hirsch, Randy Saitta, director of broadcast production Gary Grossman, group creative directors Chuck Borghese and Jean Batthany, associate creative director/art director Hank Kosinski, copywriter Chris Schifando, art director Craig Cimmino, agency producer Alex Kobak.

Filming was directed by Dave Merhar via Sandwick Films, Los Angeles, with executive producer Grayson Bithell.

Post production and effects were developed at Rhino VFX, New York, by creative director Vico Sharabani, VFX supervisor Kathy Siegel, Lead Inferno Artist Dan Kelly, Inferno Artist Jim Ryder, animator Rob Dolace, technical director/lighter Jasmine Katatikarn, managing director/partner Rick Wagonheim, SVP/executive producer Camille Geier, producer Linda Gallagher.

Editorial work was done by Mike Douglas at Cut and Run, New York, with assistant editor Conor O’Flynn and producer Angie Agulara.

Telecine was done by colorist Tom Poole at The Mill, New York.

Sound Design was designed at HSR (Howard Schwarz Recording), New York, by Steve Rosen.

Zookeepers in Arbys TV Ad

Elephant in Arbys TV Ad