I always joke that the Super Bowl is basically my Christmas. Not just for the football (as a Cleveland Browns fan, I kissed Super Bowl dreams good-bye a long time ago), but also for the advertising. A well-crafted commercial is one of my favorite things.
That’s why I am completely jealous of Professor Austin Shaw and his class at Savannah College of Art and Design, who had the opportunity to work with FOX on the Super Bowl graphics. The motion graphics featured Cleatus, FOX’s transformer-like robot, and the students were tasked with concepting and designing the 20-second intro. While not quite a Budweiser commercial, the students had their work cut out for them.
Noël Anderson, a motion designer who is working toward an M.F.A in motion media at SCAD, was kind enough to give HOW a behind-the-scenes look at the project. Check out her comments, some still photos and a sneak peak video below.
How did you get chosen to be a part of this elite crew of students?
The special nature of this studio was mentioned to me by Professor Austin Shaw, who led the project. Working with Fox Sports on the Super Bowl animation is both an opportunity to work with an exceptional client while developing my creative skills. For these reasons, I made sure to secure a spot in the course.
What were you most excited about?
As a Brooklyn native, I was really excited to work on a project that uses New York as a stage for its action. The city has its own aesthetic and energy that need to be conveyed authentically if they are truly going to feel like the home I grew up in and what everyone is used to seeing in movies.
What did you think of the opening sequence in previous years?
All of the previous FOX Super Bowl animations are truly epic in terms of animation, action, and power. By incorporating Cleatus as a consistent element in the animations from year to year, the audience is able to become familiar with him as a character that illustrates a running narrative.
What did you hope to accomplish?
In a class with so many talented students, my only goal was to have even the tiniest, but meaningful contribution to the project. I found a niche working to manage some of the project’s organizational elements and was eventually asked to co-produce the project.
Were there any ideas you threw out or liked a lot?
There were tons of ideas that were thrown out as we worked. During the first round of planning and concepting, we broke up into small groups. My group came up with the idea of having Cleatus in other parts of the city, throwing the ball, and leaping through the city until landing in Time Square. This idea was quickly ditched because we would never have been able to fit that much action into a 15-second spot and while it incorporated many parts of the city, there wasn’t enough focus on Times Square as a location.
What was the final concept? How did the team choose this one?
Mid-way through the concepting process, I was working in another small group. We came up with the idea that Time Square would transform itself into a football stadium for Cleatus to run through. Different parts of the city like street lights, taxi cabs, etc., would rotate to reveal elements of the stadium. We presented this idea along with two others. FOX responded by saying they wanted us to further develop this concept for the final narrative of the animation. I don’t know if this is what we will ultimately see on Super Bowl Sunday, but this idea survived the longest throughout the process of working with FOX.
What did you do to contribute to the final design?
I was heavily involved in working on the concept and the narrative for the animation. Most of the design work was handled by students with extensive 3D animation experience.
How do you feel about the finished results?
Because the class was involved in the concepting and design portions of the project, I have not yet seen the final product. I couldn’t be more excited to see how it all turns out. I get nervous every time I see Time Square in a movie or a commercial!
What do you plan to do for the Super Bowl?
As an artist, I have never been one to do anything special for sporting events of any kind. But seeing as this year’s Super Bowl is so special to me, I plan to get together with the kids from Studio 408 and reap the benefits of all of our hard work.
Advertisers know the Super Bowl is the best marketing and promotion money can buy. You may not have been able to get your work in front of hoards of football fans, but you probably designed something equally stellar on a smaller scale. If so, we want to see it. Enter it in the HOW Promotion and Marketing Awards.