Coca Cola Man and Dog
Coca Cola has released “Man and Dog”, an animated commercial featuring a man and dog walking through a rainy park. The ad uses hand drawn animation to present two perspectives on the world, that of a bleary eyed man in need of a wake up, and a dog who experiences the world with all its senses. “With a little help from his best friend and a bottle of Coke, one man discovers that a change in perspective can make all the difference in the world”.
The Coca Cola Man and Dog campaign was developed at Wieden+Kennedy, Portland.
Characters were designed by Lois van Baarle. Animation was produced at Duncan Studio by director Ken Duncan, character animation team Russ Edmunds, Chris Sauve, Shane Zalvin, KD, Rick Farmiloe, EFX artist Phil Vigil, inbetween team Juliet Duncan, Dan Tanaka, June Fujimoto, Debbie Forster, paint team Kathy Baur, Melane Pava, Charlene Kelly, Staci Nichols, Alma Glick and Barbara Hamane, and producer Delia Fance. Additional effects, color trails, smoke, dust and composition were produced at Psyop.
Music is “Joy Joy Joy”, written by George Willis Cooke, and recorded by Bob Gibson in 1956.
Behind the Scenes at Psyop and Duncan Studio
Todd Mueller and Kylie Matulick talk about the work on the Coca Cola Man and Dog spot.
“Sure, occasionally one dials 911 or wins America’s Got Talent, but for the most part, dogs are idiots. That’s why we love them,” explained Todd. “They have the curious, imaginative minds of a six year old–specifically mine–who thinks every stick is excalibur, every bit of string is a lightning whip,” added Kylie. “Dogs don’t see a heap of two-week old laundry; they see a castle ready to be defended, then napped in. Where we see a cumbersome vacuum cleaner, they see an alien robot loudly singing its home planet’s anthem. At least that’s what my six year old told me.”
The team had to walk a very narrow line in order to do this project correctly, making it feel not only familiar and classic, but also imaginative and fresh.
“We wanted this film to be genuinely drawn by hand, like classic 2s animation we grew up with, but with more depth and dimension”. “It’s nostalgic but new, it shows love and focus, it’s crafted but nicely flawed, we wanted it to have a truly original look that only exists in this moment.”
Throughout the film, the perspective shifts back and forth between man and dog, each view standing out stylistically from the other. The team achieved this by approaching both from different angles not only visually but technically.
“To truly appreciate the unique feeling of looking at the world through a dog’s eyes, we had to make sure that his moments really set themselves apart from the rest of the spot,” Kylie explained. “To achieve this, we did as much as we could to shift the feeling of the moment, from unique camera moves, the look and sound of the action. Things become brighter, more fanciful, and it’s clear that you’re seeing things in a new way.”
Environments were comprised of digital matte paintings that were first painted in Photoshop on layers and eventually broken up onto cards and projected across 3d geometry, using both Maya and Nuke software. This hybrid 2D/3D look was particularly important for establishing the dog’s unique POV, which drives the fun spirit of the spot. Objects seen in this perspective needed to be created in 3d, including pieces of the environment as well as additional characters that the dog encounters, such as the motorcycle-riding squirrels.
Casting the right man and dog for the spot was monumentally important, and was a process that saw the creation of dozens upon dozens of different canines and their potential owners before landing on the final look.
In the end, it was character designer Lois van Baarle who won the day with her scruffy protagonist, an interpretation that would feel comfortable coming off the pen of one of Disney’s “nine old men.” Additional artists then helped flesh out both the Man & Dog’s expressions and attitudes to prepare them for their starring roles.
Character designs were then brought to Duncan Studio in Pasadena, who collaborated with Psyop on the 2D portion of the film, from rough sketches and blocking down to inked and painted final cels. In addition to the characters being hand-drawn, colors, shadows, and highlights were also added in the final hand-drawn animation phase. While animators at Duncan Studio focused on character animation, Psyop added additional effects, color trails, smoke, dust, and more, all in 2D.
The final step was the compositing stage, where Psyop’s artists completed the production puzzle by integrating 3D renders with 2D animation, and laid them both out together among the film’s painted environments. When all was said and done, the resulting spot became a uniquely modern piece of art, combining techniques and styles from across generations for a one-of-a-kind result.