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Aardman Nathan Love Animates A CG LeBron James With A Stop-Motion Vibe

Telling a holiday tale, in CG

Agency Wieden+Kennedy was looking for a style of clay animation in the vein of classics such as Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit for the spot. Inspiration also came from the classic stop-mo Rankin/Bass holiday specials, but, said Burrascano, “with a contemporary take.” LeBron James was always imagined as being at the center of a world of family gathering-related disasters.

Designs for LeBron James’ character.

“Besides turning in a compelling rendition of LeBron,” noted Burrascano, “I believe it was our story that really won the agency over. We were able to capture all of these disastrous holiday moments in a humorous and relatable way, which really paved the way for LeBron and Sprite Cranberry to save the day.”

But why go with cg when the brief was also to have a stop motion feel? Burrascano says “the question of stop motion versus cg was brought up early in our conversations with the agency. We put forward the idea of sending the project to the stop motion team in Bristol, but after talking through time constraints and practical implications of working with celebrity talent, we came to the conclusion that cg was the most practical way to go. Plus, our team of artists were really passionate about the project and uniquely suited for the challenge.”

Time pressures were indeed a major reason to go cg. The team only had seven weeks of production from start to finish, including design and story development. “On top of that, we had to feature two celebrities in the spot, one of which wasn’t selected until the third week of production,” said Burrascano. “Getting both of them to sign-off on their likenesses, as well as the story and their animation, required the type of flexibility that could only be afforded in cg.”

Going with cg probably turned out to be the right approach. Just one week before delivery, a main character had a complete wardrobe change, which meant Aardman Nathan Love had to rebuild the clothing…

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