Tasti NZ TVC
Whenever one tread's into the creative landscape of "Kiwiana", one does so with a certain degree of tongue & cheek and a dolop of humour for good measure. This was one of those projects.
If you haven't watched the TVC, have a look here
Watermark had the pleasure of working closely with the creative kids from Contagion on Tasti NZ's first TVC. With Contagion providing the creative direction, brilliant lyrics and a guide track, Watermark brought design and artistic style to the table for what would be a very fluid creative process.
The message that the animation had to communicate was that it was home-grown and created specifically for New Zealanders by New Zealanders. With it oozing Kiwi in-jokes and clichés, it definitely hit the mark - in fact it's hard to imagine anyone outside of New Zealand culture could appreciate it for anything more than a quirky, crazy animation.
One of the charms of the project was how the entire animation came together. Instead of the entire concept simply being concreted from the start (as most animation projects tend to work), Contagion created the concept of an "Ad Kitchen" which allowed Tasti Facebook fans to throw ideas into the mix and be involved in the Ad's gestation. With the buzz of interest through Facebook, ideas came pouring in, and the ad was quickly overflowing with red socks, tuatara's and pavlova…
This additional layer of interaction gave the ad life beyond the TV set and a version of the animation online gives credit to all the fans who contributed ideas that were used. As the producers of the animation, the task we faced meant that we had to allow the animation scope to grow as it developed, without the luxury of planning everything in advance.
Although "adding in" extra characters and artwork on the fly in the final weeks of any animation project is not an ideal pipeline, we managed to schedule and maintain a production process (with the help of lots of caffeine) that would allow the creatives working on the project to cram in as much as they could without rushing the details or skimping on craft.
The challenge in this process was making sure that the composition of each shot felt like it was teeming with detail, but that there was still a hierarchy of communication. Although packed with artwork, the main narrative and characters had to remain the dominant focus throughout. With this in mind, the design was intentionally meant to feel visually embellished so that there would plenty of hidden gems to be found in the second and third viewing.
This became central to visual storytelling approach and had to be carefully handled since new artwork and animation were being introduced continuously which would change the nature and presence of elements already in the scene.
The animation has been the pinnacle piece of what is an already gorgeous campaign so far, with lead artist Anton Petrov having already blown minds (not pies) with his paintings of picturesque Kiwi scenes brimming with New Zealand iconography. The images have been used across a variety of media including: outdoor, online, packaging, point of sales, merchandise and of course print.
Recruited onto the project for his distinctively rich, nostalgic, 'children's-book' approach, the key challenges in translating his work from static to animation, would be to retain as much of the illustrative qualities of the artwork as possible.
Often artwork which is re-created for the purposes of animation can sometimes loose a sense of painterly craft, so having Anton work closely with the animation team meant there was no loss of his touch throughout the process. For the 3D elements, Anton would draw elevations of the different models for the 3D artist and with some guidance, work straight onto UV and texture maps. In this way, any of the 3D artwork carried the same 'brush strokes' as the 2D artwork and provided a more seamless blend between the two techniques.
With the ad receiving so much praise and adulation from all sorts of Kiwi's from all corners of the country, we're excited to see where Tasti will go next!