During a time of notable division and uncertainty within the U.S., OREO’s new TV spot ‘The Fair’ calls on Americans to unite and strive towards a brighter future, together.
Co-directed by Framestore Pictures’ Murray Butler and Framestore Creative Director and Head of CG Andy Rowan-Robinson, the team partnered with The Martin Agency across a live action shoot and CG character animation to create an endearing story with a timely and critical message.
Set in a closed fairground, the fable is based on two plush stuffed animal prizes, a donkey and an elephant (well-known political symbols), as they work together to help an abandoned stuffed toy cat (representing the nation itself) find something to eat. Initially competing to help her, they achieve nothing, but their eventual teamwork symbolizes how coming together, regardless of backgrounds or walks of life, can make a positive impact for the sake of the country’s future.
“It’s a message we all felt like we could get behind. In the run up to a contentious election with a lot of shouting across the political divide, this spot is an appeal to sanity and reason -- regardless of political persuasion,” said Murray Butler. “We needed the audience to believe in these characters, and for the message of the story to deliver in thirty seconds, which was a tough assignment. The passion that the creative team at The Martin Agency, led by Jordi Martinez, had for this story was infectious. It’s important for our artists and creatives to work on projects that they care about and believe in, and this was one of those projects.”
The team was tasked with creating all three brand new CG characters, directing a nighttime shoot at Luna Park in Coney Island, as well as animating and finishing the entire story, all within a six week time period. Animation was tapped as a natural creative vehicle for storytelling, with its sense of childlike playfulness and idealism, while the empty fairground served as a nonpartisan and nostalgic backdrop in which to bring the characters to life over a shared snack of OREO cookies.
Rowan-Robinson undertook creative leadership alongside Butler, together developing the story beats before focusing on individual responsibilities. While Rowan-Robinson focused on character development and animation, Butler headed up the live action shoot, enabling the team to parallel path the creative development of character and story. The CG team was led by Framestore’s Global Head of CG Vince Baertsoen, while VFX Supervisor Matt Pascuzzi attended the shoot and oversaw the compositing team.
“We knew from the start that we all wanted to be part of this project, so we found the angles and boarded the story beats, designed, built and animated the characters in record time,” said Rowan-Robinson. “In a thirty second spot, with a story such as this, clarity is key. Our main concern during the process was that the message would read well through key moments. We worked to ensure that the performance really came to life in the animation so that the audience could truly feel everything, from the cat’s disappointment to witnessing when the elephant and donkey realized the error of their ways.”
First airing during an NFL game a few days prior to election day, the spot can be seen on TV and across digital channels.