Not long ago, we posted an amazing spot for Dupont directed by Brazilian-based animation and design powerhouse Lobo. I’ve been a huge fan of Lobo for a long time. Along with MK12 and Nakd (back in the Nando Costa days), they were one of the big reasons I became interested in motion graphics.
I had the opportunity to ask Creative Director Mateus de Paula Santos some questions about the spot, and he decided to share a very nice chunk of the preproduction work behind the project (see the sidebar). My love for Lobo knows no bounds.
1. How did the Dupont job come about?
The Ebeling Group has producer friends at Ogilvy NYC who are fans of our work, so when their client Dupont wanted to launch a new global TV campaign that was very conceptual and abstract, they felt like our design sensibilities would be a good fit.
What they really wanted was something that looked very technological and human at the same time so the first references that we and the agency talked about were the work of John Maeda and painter Victor Vasarely.
2. Because many of our readers aren’t familiar with The Ebeling Group, could you describe what role they played?
I met Mick Ebeling on an introduction from Ben Radatz at MK12 about four years ago. The Ebeling Group is our production company and they represent us worldwide. They bring in the projects we work on, handle all the business stuff like billing and marketing, and then they help us produce the jobs with TEG producers out of their NY and LA offices. They are really good at defending our creative and helping clients understand that there is only a one hour time difference between NY and Brazil.
Dupont was no different than the way we work on all our jobs. The majority of the creative was done out of our São Paulo office, but then I would fly to NY for big meetings or presentations and work out of the TEG office. TEG had a producer who interfaced with the client on our behalf and made sure the client was informed about the complexity of the project and was generally happy with how things were going. Looking back, for such a difficult and complex project, production went extremely smooth.
3. How did the concept come about? Who wrote it and conceived of it?
The concept put forth by Ogilvy was to show that, although we may not realize it, Dupont products and technologies are used in most everything we see and incorporate into our daily lives. Everything from the high-tech, like Mars Rovers and jumbo jets, to the more conventional and mundane, like oven mitts, are made better through Dupont technology.
Ogilvy wanted us to show the range of products Dupont touches, and to do so in an artful and abstract way. We not only used graphical, abstract representations of fibers, materials, cell structures, and scientific renderings, but we also illustrated more tangible things in the spot, like ears of corn and sports cars.
As for the masterminds at Ogilvy, we have to credit the Art Director Marc Klein. This campaign was largely his pet project, and he did a great job in translating his creative vision to us. Copywriter Bill Heater also penned a fantastic script, which we used to base our animations around.
4. Were you working mainly with an agency or were you also working directly with Dupont?
We worked only with the agency.
5. What was the most challenging aspect of the spot?
We had to cover so much ground in this spot. Copywriter Bill Heater’s script talked about so many different things, and we had to make everything visually coherent in a spot that was changing subjects every two seconds. So the challenge here was to have continuity with the 20 different scenes that had to flow organically together!
6. How long did the spot take to create? How many people worked on it?
We spent about a month in pre-production and three months in production, and we had a team of 20 people working on the campaign.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the spot and/or the team that worked on it?
First of all I have to thank my team at Lobo for all their hard work on the spot. This project was very intense and everyone contributed to make it great. Also, Ogilvy was fabulous. It’s always great working with agency creative teams that understand how to manage the creative process. Marc and Bill gave us ample freedom to interpret our artistic vision, while gently making sure that we stayed focused on the messaging.
These guys worked damn hard, too. I would have these late-night weekend and weeknight exchanges with Marc, where he would be pulling reference material and emailing it to me at 3 o’clock in the morning (which is 2am NYC time). He was constantly throwing out ideas to us, but not strangling the creative process.
The Ogilvy creative team also did a great job with the V/O and soundtrack. The music helped us a lot in creating the right pace for transitioning one scene to another. We owe the soundtrack to the producer, Dana Edelman, who, being a musician himself, really understood how to select music that supported the story.
Also, Ogilvy’s executive producer, Lee Weiss, gave our executive producer, Mick Ebeling, incredible freedom to create a schedule that worked for the best of the creative. She and Mick totally defended and protected our creative process, and I can’t begin to tell you how much we appreciated that. All this may sound like we are just being nice to them because they are clients, but it’s just the truth.
Design & Animation
Mateus de Paula Santos
Lead 3D Team
3D R&D Team
Loic Lima Dubois
The Ebeling Group
Adobe After Effects, Autodesk Maya, prioprietary Maya plugins, Pixar’s Renderman, Autodesk Inferno.
Special thanks to Natasha Wang for facilitating this interview.