Smith and Foulkes: Comcast “Sing-a-Long”

comcast-sing

For a series of four spots, Nexus Productions‘ Oscar-nominated directing duo Smith & Foulkes built a campy world brimming with detail and color for Comcast and agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners:

(I recommend starting with “Hi Def” and “On Demand.”)

Re-playability is key. These are going to be blasted into homes over and over for months to come, so I appreciate that Smith & Foulkes and their team of unsung heroes spent so much time and energy adding in little bits for me to discover on each viewing. (That also gave interactive studio Unit 9 endless fodder for developing the companion website.)

The Kimya Dawson-esque soundtrack is either wonderful or wretched, depending on personal tastes, but it was a big factor in Smith & Foulkes’ creative process:

It was really the music that first attracted us to the Comcast project. With this as our starting point we thought it would be fun to create a world where the whole community lives to the rhythm of the music. We decided there would no cuts and the environment would be totally isometric.

That isometric approach reminds me of eBoy’s legendary illustrations, which were undoubtedly an influence on the team. But that’s not to take anything away from the outstanding work that illustrator/character-designer Chris Martin did on these spots. He brought his own unique style to bear on this project, softening the precision of the isometric perspective with his hand-drawn charm.

Adam Smith and Alan Foulkes both made cameos, by the way. See if you can spot them.

Credits

Title: ‘Sing-a-Long’
Client: Comcast
Duration: 1 x 60″, 5 x 30″

AGENCY
Creative Director: Jamie Barrett
Group Creative Director: Chris Ford
ACD/Art Director: Stefan Copiz
ACD/Copywriter: Paul Charney
Copywriter: Andrew Bancroft
Producer: Ashley Sferro

PRODUCTION
Director: Smith & Foulkes
Executive Producer: Chris O’Reilly & Julia Parfitt
Producer: Isobel Conroy
Art Director / VFX Supervisor: Fletcher Moules
Illustration & Character Design: Chris Martin
3D Animation & Compositing: Nexus

LIVE ACTION PRODUCTION
c/o Bright Pictures

INTERACTIVE PRODUCTION
Producer: Pip Malone
Interactive Director: Tim Dillon
Production: Nexus

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About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer and F5. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

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  • Saw these on TV the other night, stopped me mid-conversation to watch it, really great work. I was immediately curious about who did them and when I saw Smith & Foulkes name it was an “aha” moment.

    Great work guys!

  • Awesome! :-D

  • adwatcher

    Amazing illustration. Who’s this Chris Martin guy? Not the one out of Coldplay I presume?! Really, really good work whoever he is. And Smith and Foulkes rule!

  • Menique

    Illustration and design is great. But I can’t get over the Juno similarities, even if they took the design a bit further.

    • Are you talking about the music (which is undeniably Juno-esque) or the design (which really has very few similarities to Juno’s title sequence, apart from the fact that it’s hand-drawn)?

      • doobieDOOBS

        Without a doubt reminiscent of The Moldy Peaches. Beautiful work! The movements flowed so well from scene to scene.

    • The Juno opening title sequence was sent as reference from the agency at the star of the pitch process, so its not entirely unsurprising.

  • saw this last night on TV. It made me rewind my DVR in the middle of a terrorist attack on the White House to see it again.
    The visuals are amazing, and the spots are very cool, but the zobie-esque deadpan had me wondering what they were thinking. I’ve seen the spots four or five times now, and I’m still trying to digest what exactly they say beyond “comcast!” at the end.

    Great work, its just a bit overwhelming.

  • MrTsLuvChild

    Man, the design is OUTRAGEOUSLY amazing. such detail, craft and love poured into all those spots.

    but the lifeless singing…i just don’t get it.

    is it a subversive comment by the directors about the zombification powers of cable TV (that the client never picked up on)? or just an intentional “too cool for school” vibe?

    either way, i love the spots *despite* the terrible delivery of the lyrics.

  • Absolutely amazing. The detail is outstanding! I could never get bored of this. What’s Comcast and why isn’t it in Europe? Or is it?

  • noelis

    the entire video is great,but it bothers me that not only the design is similar to juno but also the music. i have nothing against being inspired by other artists… that how we all get through this art thing; but this video pushed it a bit.

  • echolab

    looks super, but had to turn the sound off after the 1st one )-:

  • I loved the animation and the attention to detail…as for the music, they sound like a songs from the Free Credit Report dot com commercials.

  • Kenji

    Hmmm! I don`t now , the music is bad , the girl is to shy , it don`t act very good. And i don`t like the texture of the 3d models .

    It`s a nice project but not a very good one.

  • Miss Draw Pictures

    The illustrations are amazing.

    Who is this Chris Martin anyway?

    I just found a link to his website- http://www.mrchrismartin.co.uk

  • i just saw one of these on tv last night.. pretty trippy style, i like it.

  • Menique

    My original thought was that the whole idea, even if the illustration and animation is different, iis still too similar to Juno. I guess that what bothers me is that even if you don’t read about it, you can still figure out that Juno was the reference. However, after watching it without the music, I’m sure this would have been better served with different music. Then it wouldnt be so obvious.
    The ilustration and animation is still amazing and chris martin’s stuff is awesome.

  • wagamuffin

    Sorry guys, but I couln’t disagree more about the music. It is the perfect counter foil to the crazy visuals. Anything more upbeat or with extra expression would just clash against all the amazing graphics. Plus, because it’s so low key i actually can make out the words—and I get that Comcast has all these great products that give out so many choices to so many different target market. A great set of ads. I remembered the name of the company (how could you not? It was spelled out at the end of each ad!), what it did—and it was so visually rich that I have watched it many more times over the last few days than i care to admit. I saw juno too, and i don’t think the visuals were a rip at all.