Häagen-Dazs “Maker Street” — Ad

I love a good animated advertisement.

I know, I know — these days that seems a bit like saying I like wet water, since every commercial on TV now seems to have a significant amount of animated/CG content. But that’s not what I really mean here. I’m talking about fully animated ads, the kind that invent a magical world where baby polar bears play (and drink coke) and cookies are made by exploding chocolate chip volcanos. Those are the commercials I still remember from my childhood (even if I often forget the product they were selling), and I still enjoy seeing some of the better ones that make it on the air now.

Of course, the operative word in my declaration is that I enjoy good animated ads. There are many places that crank out the cheapest CG character they can get and use that gimmick in place of paying for any good ideas or actors (yes, I’m looking at you “The General” insurance ad). The good ads, though, take time to create any impressive and cohesive space that reifies the commercial’s pitch and makes you want  to keep paying attention even if you already have an opinion on the product.

This Häagen-Dazs “Maker Street” commercial is a great example  what makes a good animated ad. It takes a simple theme and adds a fun and expressive color palate, impeccable stop motion (and adds to the “artisan” theme of the ad), and makes the whole thing enjoyable to watch. Not surprisingly, this is another one from the HouseSpecial studio (whose work I have covered before), a company that has a great track record of making these high-quality, artistic ads.

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ESPN Believe – Ad

Well, I had said that I might post another ad from Laika/house (now HouseSpecial), and this one seems appropriate for this weekend, since Laika’s The Boxtrolls just opened and Monday night football is back. I love the expressionist setting (who hasn’t felt that the world has gone grey when their team is down?) and how effectively they get a laugh into this short spot. I’m looking forward to seeing what HouseSpecial turns out following the spin off from Laika proper.

Coca-Cola “Rivalries” World Cup 2006 – Ad

Normally I try to post more cinema-oriented animated productions on here, but — given that England’s opening game of the World Cup is tonight — I was in the mood to branch out. Directed by Mark Gustafson (Mr. Resistor, Claymation Easter), this delightfully offbeat commercial was never aired in the US, but did make appearances elsewhere in the world during the 2006 World Cup.

There are few animation companies whose work I have found as consistently impressive as the stuff coming out of Laika and Laika/house. Funny, engaging, aesthetically pleasing, and not afraid to be quirky and/or dark, these people know how to entertain both in feature films and ten-second ad spots. Who knows, you may find me posting a few more things from them in the future!