Interview: Superfad Uncensored

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A Little Pillow Talk with Superfad

What follows is an intimate interview between Superfad and Motionographer’s Lauren Indovina (with input from the Motionographer team).

“Lubed” questions
So… what sort of research did you conduct?

The sort that can get you banned from public places.

Seriously, we spent a good amount of time in R&D, calculating the physics involved in the various…”postures”. Angles, velocities, tail speed, head speed – it was a real challenge. There were definitely many late-night research sessions involved.

The actors are, dare I say- perfectly in character. Was there any…. motion capture involved?

Human subjects were involved in development, although to what extent we’d rather not say.

Did you guys have to test the product first?

Oddly enough, our 3D team seemed to be intimately familiar with the product. Unusual, huh?

When doing previs, did you have to make practical balloon animals out the condoms? If so, who did the blowing?

Have to? No. Did we? Most definitely. Superfad has made it a practice to always have a clown on retainer. I mean, you ever tried origami-ing those balloons into a rare species of Shitzu?

Was there a lot of of pre-vising and planning on every shot, or did you “execute” several different positions and edited your favorites later?

When we started we didn’t really know what we were going to get out of the little buggers. I mean, they are incredibly temperamental. But once they got started they really went to town. And you know once they dig in, you gotta just let ’em finish, ya know? The editorial process was difficult – we had so much material. Hours, maybe. And some of our favorite moments ended up on the cutting room floor.

“Unlubed” questions
On Superfad’s site, Durex is listed as the client. Was there no agency involved? If there was no agency, did that hinder or help the creative process?

There actually was an agency – Fitzgerald and Company in Atlanta. These guys…and gals…were a riot. From the very first conference call, it was all out hysteria. They really gave us a lot of room to go nuts.

What was the initial client brief? Did Durex say “Hey, Superfad, we’ve got condoms, make them hump,” and then let you run with the creative reigns? Or, was there a story the agency had lined up for you guys to follow?

Yeah. In some respects it was that simple. The fun part was taking that simple idea and telling it in a way that made you want to laugh out loud. It was always going to be cute and a little risky, but in order for it to work, we had to go all the way. But then we also had to know when to pull…(pregnant pause)…back.

Case in point, our sound effects got a bit too “life like” at one point, and we all agreed that it worked better when it remained cute and playful, so we put the kibosh on it. Originally, we also had a popping balloon sound at the end of the spot, but figured that didn’t fare well in a condom spot, so we nixed that as well. All in all, the agency was really collaborative and gave us lots of freedom, which always makes us a little randy.

Was there a process of look development where someone designed the balloon characters, the lighting, etc, or did the client come to you with specific references?

They did come with references and condoms that we did blow up and examine pretty carefully. We wanted these things to look real. Every crease where it was twisted or pinched had to look right. We found that when we blew up the condoms that the more inflated the condom was the thinner it got so more light shone through. We really tried to pay attention to the details of the product. One of them – the pink one – is even ribbed “for her pleasure.”

We did break up the development process, as we usually do. Domel Libid did the modeling, Dave Thomlison was our lead animator, and Mike Wharton was animation director and did the majority of the lighting. Andrew Stubbs Johnston art directed, and Adrian Winter was lead compositor. Rob Rugan was the Creative Director, Geraint Owen is Executive Producer and Mike Tockman the producer. To round it out, Joe Mendleson and Joel Raabe from Gramercy Post did the sound design. We’re probably leaving out people.

These little bunny guys are pretty X-rated. Did you have to go through a censorship round with the client? What was considered off limits? How did you communicate with the “terms” with the client? I imagine there was a lot of giggling and middle school humor.

Every conference call started to veer dangerously close to locker-room territory, mixed with a quite serious debate over sexual positions to include or not include. At some point it, though, you stop thinking about the content and just make the best piece of work that you can. (Pause) Nooooo, we’re lying, it was always about HOT BALLOON ANIMAL LOVE!

Where exactly is this allowed to be aired? Did you have to pass a certain battery of network restrictions?

It has only aired once in the states. Once. But we are hoping that the Europeans are a little more forgiving of our naughty behavior. “Get it On” was created primarily for the web, where the censorship process is less oppressive.

The outakes: are they a part of the viral campaign, or did you guys just go ahead and do them for fun?

We created those purely for the fun of it. We just had a lot of fun playing with these little guys (and gal) and thought it was and idea that was begging for outtakes.

Is this an ongoing campaign? I hope so. I’d love to see how far idea could be pushed. It’s so clever and entertaining. Seems like you guys could really go nuts- literally and figuratively.

We have a feeling there’s more to come before those puppies lie down for good…

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.