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Posts Tagged ‘Marco Spier’

Susan Sarandon, Psyop Spread Malaria Awareness with ‘Nightmare: Malaria’ Game

This past Tuesday saw the release of the first game developed by production company Psyop, “Nightmare: Malaria.” Susan Sarandon lent her vocal talents to the game, developed in partnership with Against Malaria Foundation, for the iOS and Android operating systems. “Nightmare: Malaria” hopes to draw attention to the malaria epidemic that claims around one million lives a year, around 70% of them children under five; and that much of this can be prevented with insecticide treated mosquito nets. But don’t think this is another public service advertisement masquerading as a gaming experience.

“This is not another advergame,” said Brian Kehrer, Technical Director of “Nightmare: Malaria. “We focused our efforts on creating a visually rich and enjoyable, if disturbing, experience.” Kehrer, co-founder of Muse Games, was brought in to help Psyop develop their penchant for visual storytelling into their first ever video game. While at Muse, he helmed the award-winning Guns of Icarus Online.

In “Nightmare: Malaria” the player is dropped “into the bloodstream of a young girl infected by malaria. Players make their way through 18 levels of fever-dream visuals, avoiding killer mosquitoes and collecting hard-to-reach teddy bear tokens along the way.” While I can’t say anything about the gameplay, not having played the game yet, the trailer hints at striking, occasionally disturbing visual design — not surprising coming from the Emmy-winning Psyop.

The game was inspired by a Susan Sarandon-narrated PSA created through Psyop’s non-profit initiative, Establishment for the Greater Good, called “Nightmare.” In fact, “Nightmare: Malaria” borrows footage from the PSA for its trailer. If you’re interested in playing the game, you can download it for iOS or Android. And if you’d like to donate to help stop malaria, you can do so here. Stick around for “Nightmare” and credits after the jump.  Read more

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IBM’s ‘Smarter Planet’ TV Campaign Gets a Makeover

From Ogilvy and production company Psyop come a new trio of highly animated TV spots for IBM’s “Smarter Planet” campaign.

As we’re told in the release, each of these spots was created with the purpose of giving the campaign a more “visually distinctive” look. In the above spot, “All in the Cloud,” 32 animators, illustrators, designers and modelers were tapped to create an imaginary world existing only in the Cloud. To make this place come to life, “Everything in the spot was painted by hand and then mapped onto 3D wireframes to create the completely bespoke look. Each character has a back story which sparked the animators’ imaginations. Every ‘location’ was extensively researched to make sure the transformed world looked like the real one.” Those who fear change will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief upon seeing that IBM’s blue widescreen bars remain intact.

Since IBM’s green “Smarter Planet” marketing campaign launched in early 2009, its television advertising rarely strayed from zipping through closeups of talking faces. In “Smarter Commerce” (above), we see a cardboard box, a sole narrator, and an army of animated paper figures portraying IBM’s benefit to business efficiency. So, are you “Team Faces” or “Team Animation?” Credits and one more spot follow after the jump.

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Fanta Drops Dancers, Adds CGI City

Though the “Want a Fanta” dancers of yesteryear are absent in a new round of spots from Ogilvy NY and those VFX/animation whizzes at Psyop, Fanta is still being billed as some sort of liquid ecstasy substitute in the company’s latest push to get hip kids with headphones to start ingesting orange soda.

The above spot, “Bounce,” is one of four new ads that, according to what the people involved tell us, introduce a new group of pop-culture savvy characters with an addiction to dancing and caffeine-free carbonated beverages. “In ‘Orange Vision’ we feature a new girl Maud, who just completely steals the show in our minds,” the agency says. “When we started designing her, (experimental R&B singer) Janelle Monae came up a lot for style and personality reference. Her energy is infectious and we really wanted that to come across in Maud as well.”

As crisp as this CGI hipster-laden city looks, we wonder if it will ever match the infectious/annoying beat of that catchy oldie but goody, “Want a Fanta? Dontcha want a?” Now that’s in your head, isn’t it? You’re welcome.  Credits follow after the jump.

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LG Wreaks Havoc in Toyland

Taking a cue from Jaws, Y&R New York sets the scene in this spot for the LG Kompressor Elite vacuum cleaner. Everything is all fine and dandy, as all the toys are enjoying a day at the carpet until a couple gets separated from the group. They start, well, having fun until (cue the score) things go to hell real quick when some uninvited guests show up for dinner.

The team at Psyop (with the help of Smuggler) built a set on a stage, keeping the CG to a minimum and shot all the plastic toy soldiers, Barbie look-a-likes, designer toys, stuffed animals, etc on that set and implemented CG to give the dolls different facial expressions. The sharks and other subtleties were obviously generated as well.

Psyop CEO and CD Marco Spier says in a statement, “We of course got personally connected with the toys, their characters and the story. Carefully placing them personally on set to get the best performance out of them, kind of like actors. We also liked the idea of having unusual combinations of different characters because that’s how kids play – free form, mixing and matching, and grouping things together based on what they have no hand, or what their siblings or friends have.”

We think it’s safe to say this turned out to be a nice spot with some good imagination – much better than an infomercial of a vacuum sucking up coins and marbles. Credits after the jump.

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