Ben Steiger Levine for Sprite

Up-and-coming A White Label Product director, Ben Steiger Levine, delivers his first major commercial undertaking via Sprite. The moment of creative inspiration is visualized by an exploded Drake and an ensuing journey through the inner-workings that fuel him.

In a time where CG-prowess has become the norm, with an equal reliance on this technology; Ben’s opted for a refreshing, primarily practical approach. He’s employed animatronic, in-camera techniques with an effects support from MassMarket. Here’s another guy to definitely keep your eye on. It was a big 2009 for Ben and he’ll hopefully be continuing to knock his independent, music video chops against the somewhat larger screen.


Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Kevin Roddy
Creative Director: Amee Shah & Matt Ian
Art Director: Erik Holmdahl
Copywriter: Beth Ryan
Head Of Broadcast: Lisa Setten
Producer: Jennifer Moore

Production Company: aWHITELABELproduct, Los Angeles
Executive Producer: Ellen Jacobson-Clarke, Annique Decaestecker
Director: Ben Steiger Levine
Line Producer: Lynn Zekanis
DP: Chris Soos

VFX: Mass Market
Executive Producer: Rich Rama
Producer: Aleen Kim
Assistant Producer: Adam Coffia
Assistant Producer: Tom Knight
Designer: Greg Herman, Derek Stratton
CG Supervisor: Pakorn B.
CG Lead Artist: Ed Manning
CG Artist: David Barosin, Jimmy Gass, Keith Kim, Eban Byrne, Ciaran Maloney
CG Modeler: Tom Cushwa
CG/Nuke Artist: Adam Flynn
Lead Flame Artist: Nick Tanner
Flame Artist: Julian Ford, Mark French, Sarah Eim, David Parker, Joanne Ungar, John Ciampa
Jr Flame Artist: Jeen Leen, Dan Bojoulian

Editorial Company: Cut + Run, New York
Executive Producer: Angie Aguilera
Producer: Beth Fitzpatrick
Editor: Steve Gandolfi

Telecine Facility: Company 3, New York
Telecine Artist: Tom Poole

Audio Facility: Sound Lounge, Nyc
Audio Engineer: Tom Jucarone

Music Company: Squeak E Clean Productions
Executive Producer: Zach Sinick
Track Arranged By: Brent Nichols & Rusty Logsdon
Sound Designer: Steve Mccarty
Music: Title: “Forever”, Drake

Endtag Animation Company: Brand New School, Los Angeles
Executive Producer: Ned Brown
Producer: Garrett Braren
Art Director: Ludovic Shorno

Previz : Joshua Sherrett

About the author

Matt Lambert

NYC / London



cool ad, reminds me of this


The execution of the concept is flawless, everything looks really amazing. However it is the concept itself that is weak. I really don’t know what an exploding Drake filled with 50 gallons of Sprite really means. Execution was great though.


I agree. Looks Great! Dope CG and compositing. But the concept is terrible.


WTF!!! Agreed looks amazing but concept is loose to say the least


Good execution, especially on the liquid, and I like the move through the window with the subtle distortion effect. But as others said, concept is weak, timing is off, i.e.. the way his eyes still look around as though almost puzzled that he just exploded into robot parts doesn’t look very convincing. And the line he finally delivers once divine Sprite inspiration hits? Ummm… Yo, I’m just not feelin’ it.


agree with the guys, great work on visual and stuff but very weak idea.


Hilarious commercial.

Thiago Maia

Yes, I think the same. It is really well done, but concept/idea is a bit poor.
It is a question that stay in my head when I see most of the car commercial, why they hire us to create something? It is to sell a product or refresh the brand, but a lot of commercials get lost in this creative world and don’t miss that. They ending up being a personal project in my opinion.


Same as everyone else, I thought the execution was mostly spot on. The one part I couldn’t get over though was the whole uncanny valley when he explodes. The CG version of him looked very CG, and different enough from him that I was totally distracted from whatever else was going on. I think I actually experienced relief when he re-formed into a real photographed human again.
That Blackjack commercial from back in the day had the same problem. Those CG hands playing with the phone just creeped me out too much.


I think the cg version of him is just the video footage that is camera projected back onto geometry, not a ‘true’ cg version. I agree that it looks odd, but I think it has more to do with his awkward/dopey facial expression.


How do you camera project moving video on to geometry? I’m guessing the modeled his face and then match moved the geometry to the video. Then projected the video on to the geometry.

How did they get the texture projected on the geometry to stick to the geometry while the geometry was being animated?

P.S. geometry


While I’m not completely sure that’s what they did, this video probably does a nice job illustrating complex camera projections that might answer some of your questions (fast forward to the nuke compositing for the mummy at the end).

On a simple level getting texture projections to ‘stick’ to geometry can be done a number of different ways — by baking the projected texture to the UVs (like in maya) or can be done with one of the default camera map modifiers in 3dsmax.

Greg Herman

Its actually a full scale robot modeled to look like Drake, then footage tracked to the robot. Super dope.


Agreeing with everybody else on this. Concept fails quite a bit. This is especially obvious when watching it at the theaters and you really focus on what you are seeing.


I think its pretty damn good.
The whole spot ends really nice with the music and leaves you on a high without being cheesy.

Agree on the CG on him tho.


If you want, you can check out the concept art I did for this commercial:

Comments are closed.