Calabash Animation Catches Rainbow in New Lucky Charms Spot
September 8, 2011

Calabash Animation Catches Rainbow in New Lucky Charms Spot

Chicago, Ill. - Calabash Animation--building on the success of its previous outing for Lucky Charms cereal, in which the iconic character Lucky the Leprechaun was rendered in CG for the first time--has expanded Lucky's CG universe in "Rainbow," a new ad created by agency Saatchi & Saatchi, New York for the General Mills brand.
"This was the most ambitious CG project that we've done to date, with so many characters involved and so much motion," Wayne Brejcha, Calabash creative director, says. "Three kids plus lucky and five avatars-the screen is just jammed with characters."

Picking up where the previous spot ''Everybody Flies'' left off, ''Rainbow'' begins with three kids chasing Lucky and his beloved box of Lucky Charms as he flies aboard a magical cereal piece into a rainbow. As he rips through it, the rainbow magically transforms him into five distinctly colored Lucky avatars, each with its own personality. Suddenly, Lucky loses his grip on the cereal box, which the camera follows as it falls through the sky and into the waiting arms of the hungry kids. As they excitedly realize there are five new colored charm pieces in the cereal (hence the name ''Rainbow''), Lucky and his avatars swoop down to steal back the cereal--ending the spot with his familiar call of "they're magically delicious!"

''For this spot we wanted to amplify the special effects, particularly the look of the water and the lighting and get away from an overly cartoonish blue sky look,'' Brejcha says. ''Rainbows generally form during or after ominous weather, so went for a slightly threatening weather look. The whole spot flows very naturally despite the fact that it was very complex.''

For Sean Henry, Calabash executive producer, who focused much of his attention on the compositing of the many characters and environments, the most challenging component of the spot was the sequence when the air-born Lucky loses his grip on the cereal box and the POV shifts from him to the falling box and finally to the kids waiting below. Although it comprises less than 10 seconds of the whole spot, the sequence was extremely complex.

''Whenever you fly the camera around, you exponentially increase the number of things you need to think about,'' Henry says. ''The spot has a lot of dramatic camera movement and characters rocketing around like the Blue Angels, plus a ton of special effects. The motion has to feel physical, and yet it has to be very controlled so that the audience doesn't get lost. With six or more characters visible at a time in some of the shots, it was a particular challenge to make sure the performances came through. It involves a lot of very careful choreography to make something look so perfectly chaotic.''

''The agency and the brand trusted us with a lot of freedom to tell a story which was very difficult to convey through storyboards alone. We find time and time again that communication is key, so that there are no unpleasant surprises,'' Henry adds.

See the spot here.