Tiny crew, big target
Creative production studio Motion Theory has released a cinematic fully animated project to help US retailer Target launch new grocery departments in many stores
Target approached Motion Theory with the goal of creating a dynamic, engaging animated world that embodied teamwork and captured audiences with the personality and style of a feature-length animated feature – all the while echoing the friendly, stylish surprises of the Target brand.
The piece opens with a monumental Target bullseye (the brand logo) opening at the touch of a button – casting a shadow across the landscape and introducing a crew of quirky little workers standing alongside their machines, staring in awe as they see what’s inside the bullseye for the first time. The crew of characters immediately start carting in different fruits and vegetables via all sorts of familiar-looking items built into extraordinary machines. The tempo of the story bursts into activity as the camera glides through the action, highlighting remarkable clockwork efficiency within what would otherwise appear to be absolute chaos. The team spirit and personality is explored in cinematic fashion, moving from vertigo inducing high angles and sweeping helicopter shots that look down at the ant-sized workers below, to ground-level angles that show off the great towering mass. Whether they are riding zippy motorized three-wheeled vehicles, using combination wheelbarrow-catapults or bike-powered conveyor belts, or even scaling the bullseye on Mission Impossible-style harnesses, the animated team members are only satisfied when every little nook and cranny in the bullseye is jam-packed with everything fresh. Nor is the exterior ignored either, as the spot ends with a loud squeak of a squeegee making the bullseye shine followed by the departure of the workers.
Motion Theory Director Chris Riehl led the in-house team of animators and artists through a very condensed production schedule that mirrored the character and story development of a much larger CG animated film. The goal from the beginning was to create human and naturalistic characters with the depth to support a great variety of stories. The characters were all developed as in-house originals at Motion Theory, which also created a range of Target-branded utilitarian uniforms and nifty gadgets.
“During the character design process, we really wanted to focus on very relatable and lovable characters,” Reihl told Fired By Design. “We began by making a list of ironic character archetypes and used a simple shape language of gestures to find the basic form for each character type. Then we took these generic silhouettes and began to develop their finer details to bring them to life within a very limited palette of actions and minimal screen time. Ultimately this process made for iconic and simple characters that can communicate a lot with very little.”
Riehl’s vision was to create an engaging and detailed story, providing viewers with new experiences and discoveries even after many views. “Partnering with Target and having the opportunity to create an entirely new animated world with original characters and storyline content was an exciting and fulfilling process for the whole team from the very start,” he said. “The team and I explored every possible detail you see from the memorable cast of characters to the host of strangely specific heavy machinery and vehicles which we hope comes through when watching the spot.”