New HP Campaign: A “Twist” on the Old?

Eight VFX teamed up with director Olivier Gondry to create a three-spot campaign for HP. The first spot in the series stars fashion designer Vera Wang, and it’s been getting some serious airplay lately.


Goodby, Silverstein and Partners/SF, the agency behind the campaign, is obviously building on the success of their previous “Hands” campaign (which featured beautiful design and animation executed by Motion Theory). But there’s a degree of separation in this new spot that I think detracts a little from the spontaneous acts of personal expression implied by the “Hands” approach.

Instead of the talent directly manipulating the objects of their creativity, this new approach leans towards celebrities watching over tableaux that seem to be created by someone else. Each scene seems prepackaged, in a way; all the talent needs to do is pull on the right doohickey or push the right button. (Maybe that’s also indicative of HP’s approach to personal computing?)

The scenes are clever, though. My favorite is the self-referential commercial-within-a-commercial moment. Very Gondry. (Both Michel and Olivier.)

Technically, Eight VFX did a smashing job. Their sense of scale is perfectly consistent, which really bolsters the impression that you’re witnessing little universes play out on a table top. They seem to have great chemistry with Gondry, opting for a little less whiz-bang slickness in favor of practical effects and straightforward live action compositing when possible.

Full credits in this press release.

About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. 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.



As soon as i saw this on television I felt two immediate gut reactions.
1. “That was not Motion Theory.” &
2. I imagined HP riding the success of the previous ads, wanting more, and found a lower bidder.
Gosh that sounds terrible and mean. But at the end of the day the transitions from scene to scene, with exception of the runway build were a bit on the weak side. More attention could have been given to the individual elements in each scene. For instance the trees growing on the frozen pond just seem to alpha and scale in. And now, going through frame by frame i am noticing tons of alpha transistions, which ultimately give me a sense of rushed work. I am truly impressed with motion theory’s spots and probably a bit defensive for some dumb odd reason. Now, add back the whiz-bang slickness along with the live action and that would of been sexy.

Marc B.

It’s cool. I just wish, who ever was responsible for supervising it (and i assume many peeps involved incl. oliver), would have noticed some of the timing flaws.

And i don’t really agree with you peiter: the trees in the pond-scene are being revealed with a holographic tv- effect. Like the rest. Not certain if letting them grow on would be appropriate.


Very Gondry… That is a great compliment Justin.

I think that the concept of the previous HP campaign is just evolving. It was pretty cool for HP to start the visuals of this commercial with an mini environment this time around. It is a great set up a small story (Vera Wang’s life).
I am on the other side of the execution critique. If I had a magic show in my backyard I would invite Eight VFX.

Eight VFX, those are some freakin’ cool tricks!


pelter: Motion Theory did indeed do the design and animation for the “Hands” campaign, unless I’m severely confused. Maybe the wording in my post was confusing. I’ve tweaked it to make it clearer.


Motion Theory is looking good here in my opinion.

You take a crew like Motion Theory that is boutique oriented direction, design, vfx and put them up against Oliver and Eight VFX and well Motion Theory is the clear stand out. I think that was a way bad call by the agency not to keep the campaign consistent by going all with MT. Anyone know for sure why decisions where made not to go back with MT?


Okay everyone: please actually *read* the post. Motion Theory did the PREVIOUS campaign, not this new one.


Justin, I got what you were saying. My reaction was “I liked Motion Theory’s” campaign more.


When I say “MT is looking good here”, I am implying that MT’s work stands out in comparison making them look like the better direction.

The “X-factor” of the MT spots is just not present in this latest campaign in my opinion.

I love the style and direction Oliver and Eight VFX put together on this, just would be a better music video than commercial to follow the success of the “hands” campaign.

This whole spot comes off a little 5th grade to me. From the nursery music (from DEVO no doubt) to the “diorama” inspired direction, to Vera’s lines (she’s so boring), nothing like MT’s hybrid combining motion graphics, live action, visual effects, 3d animation, and pop music.

Marc B.

I know that Oliver is Michel’s older brother and got much later into the biz but i’m surprised he didn’t develop more of his own, different way of doing things. It just seems too similiar.
But then again stopmotion looking stuff quickly becomes similiar. Especially if the style isn’t more personal, unique. That’s why i kinda can’t stand saiman chow’s (and many others’) stuff because it’s so like teh wannabe gondry. While gondry himself is overhyped as well.
Just my 2 melons.


Interesting evolution, but I liked the old stuff more. Maybe I’m a sucker for more graphic work. This seemed more dead-on, like Vera is playing house instead of manipulating never-before seen technology.


Anyone notice the window transition? She pulls with her left, but the minature pulls with her right. O’ Snap gettin picky wit it.


I tend to agree with most of the opinions here:
I liked the old spots a bit better.
They seemed to have a bit more flow. Here the time remap/cuts done on Vera are a bit too evident.

I do like where the concept is going however, the stop motion/miniatures feel is a great idea.
And the commercial within a commercial idea, although kinda cheesy was not a bad one
Good eye rhooks :-)


If i learned anything about vera wangs life from this, it wasnt very inspiring. i mean if they had taken the position of a documentary and actually found something that nobody knew about her and animated THAT…that would be fantastic….right now everything is extremely familiar…

we all know what family video looks like, how the internet works, and what a fashion show is, and what a design studio looks like…what did we really learn about vera wang?… unfortunately, things we can readily imagine without an animated wonder world…

yeah it looks great…animation was excellent..compositing superb……blah blah blah…


Paulo Coelho’s “hands” spot. Worth checking out.


it’s kinda disappointing in a lot of ways, especially when viewed in the context of the MT spots.

the idea of sitting over a desk covered in tiny people is a little creepy – especially when she blows her kids away or smacks a whole wardrobe department off the table. my sense is that we use computers to manipulate data, not people.

the other thing is – it feels a little star wars with the holographic transitions. shouldn’t those graphics feel crisp and organic? the styling evokes the computers of the 80s.

is all.


I agree with jasonk, especially the star wars thing.
Really, this looks like a fuck up at the agency level. Oliver and Eight are both top talents.

Comments are closed.