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Recreating Memories with Fender

Is it possible for a brand to have a top notch animation campaign in a tight timeframe and scale up the deliverables without compromising time and budget? This case is an example of how an assertive animation strategy led us to deliver more value than the original strategy with little impact on the client’s resources.

The challenge of the short deadline

When working with Fender on their campaign for the George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster guitar, we already started with a challenge. They came to us with a few illustrations and a storyboard already in place. Still, in order for us to deliver the project within the short timeframe that we had we needed something that was more detailed than what they originally had. So this project started different from our usual projects.

The agency that was working with Fender, they already developed an initial version of this video, but somehow the partners didn’t met the standards that Fender was looking for this special occasion. So when they came to us, the task was basically to scrap this out and bring something new that was going to be better and meet the standards. But still, the time was running. Even though they spent a lot of time with this previous partner, now we had to catch up and make sure Fender would have something amazing by the launch of this new George Harrison guitar edition.

We had to minimize the risks of adjustments and reviews later on, simply because we didn’t have time to lose on the project. After talking to them, we decided to lead a new version of the board based on their original version. And the intention was to use our expertise to understand where we could cut some corners, where we could better use animation to tell a story, and how we could add a few elements on scenes that maybe were taking a little bit more than they would like with a few less illustrations than what we actually had.

The challenge of the (lack of) documentation

We also discovered two new challenges during the pre-production. One of them was that this particular story wasn’t documented at all, we didn’t have any photos or videos to use in the project regarding this episode. The other challenge was that we had a small selection of pre-approved pictures from George Harrison. The solution that we came up was to do a mix of images and illustrations in order to recreate the story that actually happened.

A good example of this is the scene where we have the designers in the workshop.

Since we didn’t have any pictures of them working together and creating the guitar, we had to recreate this somehow. And the solution for that was to have two pictures of people sitting together, almost like they were sitting and talking and collaborating, but using name tags with their names over their faces. The line going around them not only represents the cord of the guitar, but also the flow of ideas and the collaboration between them because they go around and they kind of become part of the scene. All this allowed us to tell the story in a more abstract but still interesting way.

Another good example of this is the scene that we showed the guitar going from California to London. This is really funny because, at the end of day, they couldn’t ship it as a cargo and they had to buy tickets for real seats in the airplane. So we wanted to represent this because it was a quirky moment from the story.

The challenge of scaling up

So even with those challenges, we were able to deliver an amazing piece. The client was so happy with it that they even considered scaling up what was the original intent for those videos. At first we were working on a horizontal, 60 second piece, but after seeing what we were able to achieve in such a short timeframe, they wanted to do more. They questioned us about the possibility of creating a vertical version, a square version, and a 30 second version as well.

Although deciding on scaling up things by the end of a project is not the ideal scenario for the production team nor for the client’s resources, we can still find ways to do so without compromising the story or the visuals.

After evaluating, we saw that the vertical version wouldn’t be able to be done within the short time frame we were working with because the original piece wasn’t built to work this way and it would demand lots of changes and reanimating scenes to get there. The square version, on the other hand, was more viable in terms of adaptation, with most of the scenes created for the original being easily repurposed.

The 60 second to 30 second adaptation was also a viable option that we decided to take on. Basically the work in this situation was to look after those moments where we had continuous movements. Those were moments we needed to keep locked as they were. But whenever we had some cuts as part of the transitions, those were the moments we could change and rearrange to fit in this shortest version. Those decisions lead us to adapt not only the format but also the duration while still keeping the short timeframe deliverable.

The impact of a great animation strategy

Having a strategic eye towards the processes of animation was essential to deliver a project that went beyond expectations. From the moment of finding solutions through the production process to make sure we would meet the tight deadline still delivering a high-quality piece, as well as understanding how we could scale up the project within that deadline and without going all the way over budget, everything was strategically considered to align with the clients needs and goals.

Raff Marques
Raff Marques
Co-founder & Creative Director at MOWE Studio