DGWB & An Ideal World Puts on the Dog for Wienerschnitzel

The Delicious One, Wienerschnitzel once ubiquitous hot dog icon, is back and starring in his own Busby Berkeley-style musical commercial?Äîthanks to an ideal world.

The Orange County animation and visual effects studio produced a new spot for the fast food chain and ad agency DGWB that features the smiling hot dog in an elaborate, animated dance number promoting Wienerschnitzel new Chocolate Nutter Butter Freezee. TDO, as the character is more commonly known, hoofs it on a giant stage accompanied by dozens of dancing cookies, spoons and bits of dark chocolate.

Noting that TDO had not starred in a Wienerschnitzel ad for a couple of years, an ideal world Director Robb Hart said that his company was delighted to have a hand in the character Broadway-style revival. ‘The agency came up with this crazy idea of the hot dog dancing in a Busby Berkeley world,’ Hart recalled, ‘and, of course, we wanted to do it.’

Still, Hart found the project more than a little daunting. ‘A dancing CG character would normally take several months, and the agency needed it in two weeks,’ Hart recalled. ‘After carefully reviewing the boards, we found a way to do it. We pulled it off in about ten days, because we were passionate about it.’

Working with Jim Riddle (Associate Creative Director) and Brandt Wiseman (Motion Graphics Artist) of DGWB, an ideal world solution was a hybrid approach combining live action, 2D and 3D animation. They started out by shooting HD footage of cookies and Freezees against green screen. They also shot lumps of chocolate after smashing a bar with a hammer, then animating stop frame sequences of the pieces. ‘We pulled the chocolate sequences into Maya to create the streams of chocolate that fly across the sky,’

Hart and lead VFX artist Sharon Diaz used other clever tricks to create the character animation. They ‘repurposed,’ while slightly modifying, animation from earlier Wienerschnitzel spots to fit the new ads. ‘We created unique animation by taking bits of the existing animation and adding new things. For one sequence, we animated TDO arm to make it look like he swimming. It simple tricks of compositing and editing,’ Hart explained. ‘The spot is basically a cocktail of pieces we put together through splicing and dicing.’

The clever handiwork notwithstanding, Hart is most pleased by the response the spot has generated. ‘The ad was such a success that several Wienerschnitzel locations sold out of Nutter Butters,’ he noted. ‘It gotten a lot of attention?‚àö√ë‚àö√Üpeople find it cool and fun.’

The spot success also led to the production of a second ad. In it, TDO stars in an equally elaborate swimming extravaganza a la Esther Williams. The product here is Tastee Floats, a drink made with soda and soft serve ice cream.

an ideal world production methodology was much the same as with the Nutter Butter spot, but in this case shooting the product proved particularly challenging. Wienerschnitzel was insistent on using real ice cream and that required shooting at an actual restaurant, due to the difficulty of moving a soft serve ice cream machine.

The nature of the product required Hart to work fast. ‘You have no idea how many ice creams we had to go through to get the take,’ he observed. Hart failed to mention who consumed all that melting ice cream but he did note that his staff was able to use the compositing software Shake to combine parts of several takes to produce the final ‘perfect’ shot.

an ideal world is located in the Artists Village of Santa Ana at 209 N. Bush St., Santa Ana, CA 92701. For more information, call (714) 953-9501 or visit www.anidealworld.com .

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