Click 3X Help E*Trade Babies Give Hobson Stock Advice

Click 3X has launched a hilarious 3:00, long-form piece starring financial expert Mellody Hobson and the famous E*TRADE babies, in the latest effort for the financial services company’s long-running 1000 New Accounts a Day campaign via Grey NY. Grey CCO Tor Myhren and his team looked to Click 3X to elevate the campaign by adding additional characters, more interaction, and the backing of renowned outside financial experts.

Click utilized their extensive resources to complete all aspects of the campaign, from casting to live-action shooting to FX to making selects and seamlessly implementing them into the edit, all under the demands of a three-week schedule, showcasing the company’s broad range of expertise.

The spot opens with Good Morning America’s Financial Contributor Mellody Hobson firing up an online teleconference with the E*TRADE Babies, who will ostensibly explain the complexities of stocks and bonds to her in the simplest possible terms. In the humorous exchange that follows, the E*TRADE Baby defines the various financial instruments while “Benny” makes awkward compliments about Hobson’s beauty. The spot, which debuted on ABC May 29, is also running as two condensed :60 cutdowns in movie theaters and on YouTube.

“E*TRADE’s 1000 New Accounts a Day campaign featuring the E*TRADE Babies is one of the most instantly recognizable on the advertising and cultural landscapes today, so it was a great moment for Click to be asked to take it to a new level,” stated Lead Flame/VFX Artist John Budion. “Rather than just rehashing past material, I think our team did a great job of doing something fresh and funny with characters that are familiar to almost everyone.”

Using a combination of new footage shot of 6-year-old’s mouths at Click’s stages, ABC-shot footage of Mellody Hobson, and pre-existing material of the infants shot against green screen for previous spots, the studio assembled the sequence that made the babies appear to be conversing with Hobson. Budion directed the 6-year-olds to deliver the lines at different perspectives, with different cadences, in order to capture a more believable performance of the mouths. Specific copy needed to be delivered in a fashion that matched the verbiage and content of the words. If the babies were annoyed with something, the lines needed to be delivered with that attitude, flare, and timing in their cadence.

When it came time for the flame stage, Click’s ability to streamline and work efficiently without any effect on the quality of the final product was on full display. Budion was aided by veteran Lead Flame/VFX Mark Szumski, and Flame Artist Sophia Avgousti who helped him to set up a live-action and VFX pipeline that completely removed the typical challenges of doing a three-minute full HD piece, allowing an intense collaborative focus on the creative. The team had ample time to perfect the subtleties of emotion and attitude that define the exchange between Hobson and the babies. After final picture, the entire piece was treated to give it the feel of an online video. Click added more damage to the jump cuts to make it feel as though the video were hanging up.

“We had the challenging assignment of doing a made-for-TV spot that had the feel of an innovative web project, but with our HD-Flame resources, this wasn’t a problem,” noted Head of Production Jared Yeater. “With all the components of production centralized in Click’s studios, all the people involved in the disparate parts of the project are able to easily collaborate to work out the best final product.”

About Click 3X:
New York-based Click 3X produces cutting-edge visual solutions for commercials, feature films, television, music videos, and broadcast clients around the globe. Founded in 1993, Click 3X has become one of the preeminent providers of innovative media content, housed in an environment led by artists, yet supported by one of the most technologically advanced digital studios in the industry. With award-winning design, powerful visual effects, and a visionary animation team, Click 3X has worked on array of diverse highly-recognizable projects, including a series of films from academy-award winning directors like Jonathan Demme and Davis Guggenheim, a recent multimedia package for eight HD Time Warner spots, My Home 2.0, a five episode reality TV series for Verizon Fios, and a long line of recent commercials for major brands such as Sharp, Ford, and Goodyear.

In addition to Click 3X’s commercial and film expertise, their interactive design studio, ClickFire Media, specializes in multi-platform, media-rich interactive campaigns. CFM partners with agencies and entertainment industry clients in the conceptualization, design, and development of immersive branded experiences. Through insight and innovation, CFM combines the latest interactive technologies with the best design, video, animation, and live action skills from Click 3X to deliver integrated solutions in the ever-developing media landscape. Haunt is a division that specializes in cutting-edge motion design for music videos, virals, and installations, and has worked with many of the industry’s top music talent and directors. Click 3X Entertainment focuses on broadcast branding and design, rounding out the company’s expertise for every screen.

The Creds:
Client: E*TRADE
Spots Title: “Financial Literacy”
Air Date: 5/29/09

Agency: Grey New York
CCO: Tor Myhren
ECD: Rob Baiocco
Creative Director/Art Director: Paul Behnen
Producer: Seth Gorenstein

Prod Company (Lip Shoot): Click 3X
Director (Lip Shoot): John Budion
Lead Flame/VFX Artist(s): John Budion, Mark Szumski
Flame Artist: Sophia Avgousti
Designer: Justin Wolfson
EP: Jason Mayo
Head of Production: Jared Yeater

Editor: Alex Cohan @ Grey, NY
Mixer: Dante Desole @Grey, NY

Shoot Location (Lip Shoot): Click 3X

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