So many adverts try to be funny, and yes it’s subjective, yet few actually produce the lols they set out to achieve. But this super short, stop motion film directed by Jeff Low for agency Adam&EveDDB, with help from Wes Anderson’s key puppet maker Andy Gent, is a lesson in deadpan wit. Executing dry, pared-back humour with sharp comic timing, the ad is simple but hilarious and an unlikely (considering the fact it’s promoting doggie dental treats) early contender for one of the best Christmas ads this year.
The film centres around a dog, his owner and a snowman he’s just putting the finishing touches to, when the dog’s desire for a good stick sees the idyllic scene take an alarming turn. The set and puppets were built over a period of two months in London, to one-fifth of life-size, with the little boy wearing a handmade costume – a testament to the level of detail we’ve come to expect from any project with Gent involved. The stop motion expert founded Arch Film Studio, was head of the puppet department on both Anderson’s animated films Fantastic Mr Fox and Isle of Dogs, and worked on The Grand Budapest Hotel as well as Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie. 90 per cent of the Greenies spot was captured in-camera, leaving little work for post-production. Low even features as the voiceover of the ad, apparently not satisfied with anyone found in many rounds of casting.
Low, a director with Biscuit Filmworks which produced the ad, has a history of making genuinely funny adverts and using stop motion puppetry to achieve it. He directed the SipSmith ad for Ogilvy, which brings to life the gin brand’s mascot Mr Swan as a smooth-talking yet clueless brand advocate voiced brilliantly by Julian Barratt. That was also made in stop motion by Gent and his studio, which produced the handmade characters and sets. Low also directed the recent SetApp ad, which sees a hypnotist get distracted by his phone and leave a client believing he’s a snake; and Fanta’s Idiots are Amazing that celebrates people doing stupid things on the internet, for example, a girl who dives into snow or a guy who does skateboard tricks with a wheelbarrow.
Adam&Eve DDB is also behind the recent AA advert featuring a very fluffy puppeteered dog, trying to recreate the feeling of poking its head out of the car window.
The Greenies Holiday Snowman campaign launched yesterday, 4 November, and will air on TV on 23 November as part of a campaign across digital, social and print.