DUCK Brings Character to Life for Cox

DUCK have completed an animation project for new Cox Communications television advertising featuring the company’s new mascots, nicknamed “the digis.” In the commercial, “the digis” are birthed in multitudes from high-tech pods in a massive hanger at an unknown region and then pile out of the hanger to greet the world. The end of the spot proclaims, “Get ready, your world is about to get a little bit better.”

The teaser announcement comes courtesy of the creative minds at Doner, Cox’s advertising agency of record, who selected Lane & Jan (Lane Nakamura and Jan Chen) of Los Angeles-based creative studio, DUCK. The inaugural effort, POD is the first of a four spot advertising campaign which launched May 19th.

The new characters introduced by Cox and Doner represent the brand promise of being a “friend in the digital age.” These characters help demonstrate how customers can get more out of what they’re passionate about through Cox’s Digital Cable, High Speed Internet and Digital Telephone service. DUCK’s Lane & Jan were involved in bringing these new characters to life, and the job involved unusual circumstances for the designers. “Typically, an agency approaches us after they have decided on a design and it then becomes our job to animate them,” remarked Nakamura. “This time around, Doner came to us with an initial concept idea of what they wanted the character to look like and from there Jan and I had the chance to play with that idea and help influence the final design of this really great character.” The spots were later modeled and animated by Lane & Jan using Autodesk Maya and then Adobe AfterEffects and Apple’s Shake.

“Lane and Jan, as always, produced incredible work!” commented DUCK’s EP Mark Medernach. “Not only are they involved in the creation of an outstanding series of spots for Cox, but they have also helped to introduce the world to these sleek new characters. The umbrae of the space pods really contrast the slick white, futuristic outfits of the characters. The whole aesthetic of the spot conveys this sense that Cox is ultra-modern and forward-thinking. The whole thing is very sci-fi, but at the same time, we’re trying to tell the story that Cox brings future technologies to consumers today.”

The campaign itself is significant for Cox who is the leading bundler of video and broadband telecommunications in its markets. Cox was the first company to begin offering a competitive choice for telephone service, along with high-speed Internet and digital cable to consumers. Whereas initial marketing challenges were to educate customers on why they needed services like broadband, high definition service, On DEMAND and many others bundle elements, today’s consumers are more savvy and Cox is endeavoring to demonstrate how consumers can get the most out of their services. Cox distinguishes itself from its competition by providing reliable services supported by highly-capable and friendly customer service.

The Creds
Client: Cox Communications
Spot Title(s): POD, Birth, Coffee Shop

Agency: Doner
CD/Art Director: Steve Osterman, John Garlock
CD/Writer: John Grammatico
CCO: Rob Strasberg
Integrated Producer: Paul Renusch

Prod Co: DUCK
Executive Producer: Mark Medernach
Producer: Dan Ridgers
Directors: Lane Nakamura and Jan Chen
Animators: Dony Permedi, Eric Molina, Dave Vander Pol
Modeling/Textures: Alex O’ Donnell, Steven Hensley, Dave Vander Pol
Previs: Dony Permedi, Dave Vander Pol, Joshua Delaney
Lighting/Rendering TD: Huyen Dang, Jens Lindgren
Effects: Dave Vander Pol, Joe Kim
Compositing: Huyen Dang, Jens Lindgren, Daniel Erwin
Rigging: Terry Fall
Matte Painting: Christian Krugler
Editor: Melissa Timme

About Lane Nakamura
With over fourteen years of production experience, Nakamura brings a breadth of knowledge and creativity to DUCK. A UCLA School of Arts graduate, he has been integral in DUCK’s transformation from a traditional animation house into a full-service production studio. Over the years he has directed spots for M&M’s, Imitrex, and Walmart, to name a few. In addition, he has directed several shorts including The Snowman, which won various awards at numerous festivals. He is also the creator of Kozo, the dancing purple hippo which became a worldwide sensation and has been viewed by millions in over 69 countries.

About Jan Chen
A yearbook passage from Chen’s kindergarten teacher states, “Draw! And keep on drawing. One day you will soar and the sky will be your canvas!” Chen remembered her words of encouragement and by age 12 started formal academic art education for the next six summers. He continued to study art and form, and in 1998 earned a BFA and a MA in Art and Animation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Some of Chen’s work has won him several international awards and has also been permanently collected by schools, universities and private individuals. In addition to traditional art, Chen also creates and produces work using computer-generated graphics.

About DUCK
Los Angeles-based DUCK, formerly Duck Soup Studios, is a continually evolving creative studio producing commercials, music videos, short films and web content. DUCK offers a wide range of services, including live action and integration, character design, film title design, 2D and 3D animation, digital compositing, digital/traditional ink & paint. In recent years, the studio has expanded, adding an original content division that works with writers and animators on unique ideas for film and TV.

About Cox Communications:
Cox Communications is a multi-service broadband communications and entertainment company with more than 6 million total residential and commercial customers. Cox offers both analog cable television under the Cox Cable brand as well as advanced digital video service under the Cox Digital Cable brand. Cox provides an array of other communications and entertainment services, including local and long distance telephone under the Cox Digital Telephone brand; and high speed Internet access under the Cox High Speed Internet brand; and commercial voice and data services via Cox Business Services. In addition, Cox Business Services provides communications solutions for commercial customers, providing high-speed Internet, voice and long-distance services, as well as data and video transport services for small to large-sized businesses. Cox Media offers national and local cable advertising in traditional spot and new media formats, along with promotional opportunities and production services. Cox is an investor in programming networks including Discovery Channel.

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