Beats by Dre 'Introducing the Pills'

August 2013

Introducing the Beats Pills by Dr. Dre, voiced by Eminem, Chris Rock, Tichina Arnold and Corey Holcomb. We worked directly with Beats and R/GA to create this spot for the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony in less than three weeks, using the Pill we designed for our first Beats commercial and turning it into six unique characters.

The ads were followed by real time CG exploits when the Pill characters were animated live, thanks to Framestore’s groundbreaking game engine technology. By recreating the subversive Pills as real time CG characters, they were able to use Twitter and YouTube to instantly quip about red carpet outfits and give us their own irreverent commentary on standout stage moments. Read more here

"The Beats Pills is an exciting project for us. It's a rare opportunity to work with a brief that's purposeful agenda is to break all the rules. The pills are not you're average product mascot. They have a life of their own. Unpredictable misfits that aren't afraid to say what they think." said the spot’s creative director Ben West.

"We wanted to give the characters distinct personalities whilst making them work as a team, essentially they come from the same ‘hood'". Studying performances of Eminem, Chris Rock, etc. "Animators we're able to capture the essential body language whilst bringing unique character specific to each scene. The great thing about Beats Pills is that they are subversive, animators can push the limits further than with conventional commercials."

The tight deadline meant we had to adapt the way we worked, so the team in LA created a pre-vis based on the initial scripts which could evolve in into the final commercial. In the end it was even used to help record the voiceovers. "We needed to block out the animation before the voiceovers were even recorded, again, referencing earlier artist performances allowed us to deliver characters with attitude. It was a very collaborative process" said Ben.

Although we had already created the basic pill character for the first spot, plenty of work still went into making them look good. "We developed shaders using Arnold and really pushed the look. We wanted to make the Pills seem more tangible in the real world and less cartoon" said Ben.

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