Commercial animation studio LAIKA/house and advertising agency Borders Perrin Norrander, Inc. (bpn, inc.) recruited Portland painter and LAIKA/house illustrator Evan B Harris to create a unique illustrative production design for Oregon Lottery’s “Deal or No Deal” scratch game campaign. Two animated spots, “Louisiana Purchase” and “Alaska,” air in Oregon beginning March 20, 2007.
Directed by LAIKA/house’s Aaron Sorenson, the campaign takes a humorous historic look at some of America’s “Best Deals Ever Made” including the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 (which doubled the size of the United States) and the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia.
All characters and backgrounds were hand-drawn and painted by Harris, scanned into a digital format, and then animated by LAIKA/house’s Wendy Fuller using Maya software. The result is two richly detailed 30-second commercials, which have a sophisticated palette and charmingly detailed characters from history including Napoleon and Thomas Jefferson.
Jeremy Boland, bpn Art Director, decided to give the spots a historical feel. After browsing LAIKA/house’s reel, the bpn team was drawn to Harris’ use of muted tones and intricate, timeless characters and to Sorenson’s expressive animation style.
“The concept was hysterical from the get go,” said Boland. “Using animation helped us bring an interactive imagination to the process, unlike live action. We appreciate all the work and artistry needed to make our concepts tangible.”
“We knew we wanted to use animation instead of live action after the concepts were finalized. Live action might feel forced, plus we avoided any similarity to the television show ‘Deal or No Deal.’ We wanted a totally different feel. Evan’s style and Aaron’s expertise were perfect,” Eric Terchila, bpn copywriter, said.
Evan B Harris describes his style as “urban folklore” ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® a modern historical style.
“I think my work lends its self to animation?‚àö√ë¬¨‚àÇ it’s narrative and character based,” Harris said. “I love seeing my art come to life!”
The commercials aren’t only beautiful, but are also filled with witty, subtle humor, typical of Director Sorenson style. In “Alaska,” a polar bear and walrus wrestle before a killer whale eats them both. In “Louisiana Purchase,” a stubby Napoleon looses his hat over the rejection of his first land offer.
‘The humor comes across in the characters by playing it straight-they take the deal very seriously,’ Sorenson said. “In ‘Alaska,’ this is juxtaposed against the chaos of the environment around them, and in ‘Louisiana Purchase,’ the exaggerated size difference between Napoleon and Jefferson is automatically funny. It works better because Evan characters are elegantly designed, which is a great counterpoint to the performance of a miniscule Napoleon.’
Even the audio track is filled with subtle sounds: creaking ships, laughing Russians, clopping horses, and cheering crowds. Even Napoleon’s heavily accented voice has a special LAIKA/house touch ?‚àö√ë¬¨‚àÇ it’s an impression by LAIKA/house CG Manager Roland Gauthier, who is fluent in French.
Mr. Harris’ work is on display through March at the Compound Gallery, 107 NW 5th Ave., Portland. Mr. Sorenson was selected by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the ‘brightest and most talented 35-and-under artisans,’ and was spotlighted in the publication October 16th special NextGen Crafts issue.
The commercial studio is complied of a dynamic community of filmmakers, designers and animators who work together to produce world-renowned commercials and characters in every type of animation in every medium all under one roof in Portland, Oregon. The studio is owned by Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight
LAIKA/ house’s many awards include 11 CLIO Awards, three London International Advertising & Design Awards, five Mobius Advertising Awards, two Cannes Lion International Advertising Festival awards, two Academy Awards¬¨¬®‚àö√ú out of five nominations, 11 Prime time Emmy Awards, and honors from the New York International Film & TV Festival, Annecy Awards, Annie Awards, and the World Animation Celebration Festival. Recently, LAIKA/house was honored with an Annecy nomination, three Annie nominations, two Telly awards, SICAF 2006 Special Distinction, AdWeek Best Spots for 2005 and named twice Animation Magazine No. 1 AniCom Pick for two years in a row.
Margaret Roberts, Maggie Begley Communications, 310-301 1785
Alise Munson, LAIKA/house, 503-276-0110
Client: Oregon Lottery
Product: Deal or No Deal Scratch It Tickets
Agency: bpn, inc.
Title: Alaska & Louisiana Purchase
Running Time :30; :30
Broadcast Date: 3/20/07
Company: Oregon Lottery
Marketing Communications Manager: Brian Sullivan
Producer: Scott Fox
Art Director: Jeremy Boland
Copywriter: Eric Terchila
Creative Director: Terry Schneider
Accounts Executive: Loralee Stapleton
Director: Aaron Sorenson
Executive Producer: Jan Johnson
Production Designer: Evan Harris
Character Designer: Evan Harris
Storyboard Artist: Aaron Sorenson
Art Director: Jenny Kincade
Photoshop artists: Meghan Saunders, Don Flores
Technical Director: Terrence Jacobson
Animation: Wendy Fuller
Dir of Digi Prod, Commercial Division: Roland Gauthier
Editor: Steve Miller
Flame Artist: Tom Burney
AUDIO POST PRODUCTION
Company: Digital One, Portland, Ore.