Milk-Bone: “Bring Your Pet to Work”
Milk-Bone: “Tortoise Fetch”
Milk-Bone: “Goldfish Jogging”
ROLE: Lead Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
CLIENT: The J.M. Smucker Company
AGENCY: PSOne, N.Y.
PRODUCTION CO: Smuggler
DIRECTOR: Guy Shlemerdine
Admittedly, I’m a cat person. I’ve had dog’s in the past. And I get along with them just fine. But the feline persuasion ultimately wins me over. So I have somewhat mixed feelings with Milk-Bone’s tagline “Life’s More Fun with a Dog.”
That said, this collection of clever spots had just the right amount of silly satire to visually justify the aforementioned tag.
The anthem spot, “Bring Your Pet to Work,” perhaps best evidences this, with office workers bringing everything from tigers, goats, alligators, dolphins, bees, vultures, and of course, dogs.
Obviously, all these animals couldn’t be placed safely in the same environment, so compositing played a big role. Most animals were shot real, and layered together to make them appear in the same office. The dolphin was a prosthetic, and the bees were CG. Retiming and shadow integration were challenges. And there was the standard set clean-up, matte painted extensions, and a few greenscreens.
“Tortoise Fetch” and “Goldfish Jogging” are simpler riffs on the same motif. Both required less work on the compositing side, exempting perhaps a goldfish placed in a splashing glass bowl, as well as some grass clean-up.
The Milk-Bone campaign had four different Flame Leads who contributed to it, never at the same time, more like each of us passing the baton to the next artist. All of this was due to shifting schedules. I was the final artist in the chain, having to decode three artists prior work, often revising and redoing, depending on client notes, as well as re-conforming, and comping new shots. I hear each previous artist suffered similar experiences.
But fortunately, the final results speak for themselves.