Our parents told us to never play with our food so we couldn’t hold our excitement to dive into this project for Cheerios. Working on a concept so heavily character-driven, our main focus was to give a little lesson on how the bite-sized oats are made. Through a series of 9 animated videos, we had quite the adventure building mini puppets and the world around them. Here is our Cheerios story.
Our Cheerios story carries you through the world of oats. Starting off as tiny grains, we watch them venture off as they mature and blossom into the most delicious form of O’s. There are many steps along their journey, from crossing the finish line at the “Oatolympics” to receiving sweet honeybee kisses.
The first step in prepping was to figure out how these characters would look and how we would animate them. We grabbed a handful of cereal bits straight from the box and noticed how small and fragile they were. They would never last a long week of animation, as found in most cases with food products. Because of their limited time, food can be tricky to work with – their freshness and beauty fades rather quickly. Instead of watching them slowly wither away, frame by frame, we tossed them into a bowl of milk and looked for other ways to bring our stars to life.
Eugene, a creative designated to bring our Cheerios concept to life, had the idea of using sculpey. He took the lead in creating the perfect model Cheerio. He played around with different molds and textures, using techniques such as needle-poking and foam-painting. After running numerous tests, we finally decided on the one which most resembled the real deal. Our hero was made! Once we knew what our Cheerios would look like, we were able to begin the rest of their universe.
With a strong team of three and a deadline just shy of two weeks, we worked fast and efficiently to tackle down the remainder of the cast and their accessories. We produced a few sets of Cheerios with their younger grain selves. We made them in various shapes, sizes and colors to match them throughout every life stage. To style them we sculpted tons of itty-bitty shoes and eyes, and spent many late nights retouching blue bowties and black top hats. Once there were just enough items to shoot, the team split up – Michael and Eugene moved onto animating as I continued to prep for future scenes.
Production went without a hitch, for the most part. As we approached the end, we ran into a very troublesome scene that included a big red exploding apple. Perhaps we chose the wrong kind of clay, but the redness on the outer layer got over everything. All over our hands, the set, and even the poor Cheerios who now looked like they were starring in a horror film. We were living in our own version of the Midas touch. Slowly but surely, we managed through and finished.
While we scrubbed our hands clean of any red, our sound expert Chelsea stepped in. Everything had been edited yet there was one thing missing. She picked up her audio recorder and hid away in the “sound room,” or as most knows it as – “the bathroom.” Every now and then, little muffled cheers would escape through the door crack and we’d hear some “OOHS” and “AHHHS”, and “GO CHEERIOS”. In the end, her voice accompanied by a few tweaks and adjustments, contributed a large part of the liveliness of each character. They sounded simply adorable.
With a long string of videos needed to compliment each other, Cheerios was one of our larger client campaigns. After a full two weeks of crafting and shooting with late nights and tired eyes, we had a product we were proud of. Watch The Cheerios Story here!