Russian phone network Beeline (VimpelCom) has launched a television advertising campaign for “Hello” Privet personalised ringtones featuring stylized anthropomorphic sloths, meerkats and crocodiles and a beatboxing frog. Sloths, meerkats and crocodiles have their day energized by a spontaneous phone call to their mutual friend, a gregarious beat-boxing frog. The James Brown channeling frog instantly enlivens the mood as he enters in a corner of the screen with his energetic, arm-flailing antics, encouraging them to get personalised ringtones for each of their friends. Music is by Russian beatboxer Vahtang.
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The Privet animation concept was developed at Lowe Adventa, Moscow. The project was produced at Just Production, Moscow, by creative director Maria Molchanova, art director Olia Diyakova and producer Anton Zamakhin.
Computer graphics were produced at Rhino Gravity by director Natasha Saenko, animators/riggers Goran Ognjanovic and Rob Dollase, animators Jaime A. Castañeda and Sean Curran, lead lighter Rob Pearson, lighters Yuheng Chiang and Gilad Kenan, modelers Jagammay Himamshu and Brian Dinoto, Flame composite artist Micky Gorenstein, CG technical director Ivan Guerrero,
production coordinator Cynthia Angel, head of production/producer Karen Bianca Bisignano, COO/executive producer Camille Geier, managing director Rick Wagonheim, and CEO Zviah Eldar.
Character development provided a challenge on many levels. Beeline provided the basic color palate and character sketches, leaving it up to Rhino to develop the overall concept and the specific actors that would fit into the Beeline brand. Saenko proposed her cast of walking, talking animals to Beeline and then enlisted their creatives to help conceive the characters’ personalities, asking them to imagine they were casting for a live-action project to settle on prototypes, which resulted in a crocodile modeled after James Brown and meerkats who moved like hip-hop dancers. To perfect the animation, Saenko and the animation team studied humans in motion to mimic their actions or emotions, like fear or elation. Each animal had to be specially designed so that their movements and personality synched with their individual music, which Rhino also helped develop.
“We had a lot of fun with this spot,” noted Saenko. “The characters are funny and the animation is really beautiful. This is a very expressive, enticing piece, with animals that are genuinely cute and whimsical. The constant brainstorming and exchange of ideas between our animators and the agency creatives was incredibly smooth and productive.”