Diet Dr Pepper's "Unbelievable" Contest Commercial

The characters shine in a hilarious new stop-motion spot for Diet Dr Pepper, part of the soft drink brand's Unbelievable campaign directed by Bent Image Lab's Ken Lidster in conjunction with Deutsch/LA.
Contest is a follow-up to the first spot done in the 50s-inspired animation style, which premiered last month. The :15 spot returns to the "I Exist!" support group for mythical characters in the middle of a competition to decide who is the most unbelievable figure in the room: Santa Claus or the guy who delivers a "satisfying diet drink." As the characters, Sasquatch, Alien, Leprechaun and the Tooth Fairy look on, the Easter Bunny declares a tie between the nervous contestants.

"There's only one way to settle this!" the Tooth Fairy exclaims, pouring a glass of Diet Dr Pepper for Sasquatch. Just watch it to find out what Sasquatch thinks.

"It's been a lot of fun to develop these characters", Lidster said. "We have worked very closely with Deutsch/LA to develop these well known celebrities. So when creative director Chris Ribeiro gave us another great script, we felt that we really knew the cast's personalities, exactly what they would do. Animating the subtle expressions that make them so real came naturally. The characters really took on lives of their own."

Lidster brings a long history of stop-motion success to this project. Lipton Brisk's Dojo, a stop-motion battle pitting martial arts legend Bruce Lee against the Karate Kid, earned an animation category honor in the 2000 AICP Show and inclusion in the MoMA's film archives. Lidster also directed stop-motion campaigns for brands such as Chips Ahoy!, Kellogg's, Oscar Mayer and Quaker Oats. Bent Image Lab is renowned for retro-inspired visuals, including Office Max (Santa's Helper) with Eddie Steeples, an AFLAC spot featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, two Alltel holiday campaigns, and two Saturday Night live shorts for Robert Smigel.

"The support group is just a brilliant setting," Lidster said. "It allows us to find out what really makes some of the world's most beloved mythical characters tick. It's clear they've needed an outlet for their existential fears for some time, and we hope to keep the 'I Exist!' group going long enough to help them out."

Bent created duplicates of the sets and triples of the nine-inch-high characters to streamline production. They then shot the stop-motion on high-resolution digital cameras. Certain shots, such as the soda pour, were done on one of the studio's in-house Red cameras, using the Red Ultra Prime lenses.

"You can really see Ken's mastery of character development here with all the non-verbals going on," said Bent Partner/EP Ray Di Carlo. "The whole Bent team's attention to subtle detail helped make this animation so much fun. But it all starts with a great idea and a funny script to play off of. On this project the agency provided both. We're very happy to have such a creative working relationship with Deutsch."
The Credits:
Client: Diet Dr Pepper
Spot Title: Unbelievable - Contest
Air Date: November 2009
Agency: Deutsch, LA
President/Chief Creative Officer: Eric Hirshberg
SVP/Group CD: Chris Ribiero Sr.
Designer: Marius Gedgaudas
Sr. Producer: Tracy Jones
SVP/Group Account Director: Valencia Gayles
Account Director: Helen Murray
Production Co: Bent Image Lab, Portland, OR
Director: Ken Lidster
Executive Producer: Ray Di Carlo
Senior Producer: Tsui Ling Toomer
Producer: Kara Place
Coordinator: Ryan Shanholtzer
Director of Photography: Mark Eifert
Product Shoot Director of Photography: Jay Wesley Jones
Stage Manager: Jim Birkett
Art Director/ Set Designer: Curt Enderle
Art Department Director: Solomon Burbridge
Art Department: Greg Fosmire, Marty Easterday, Kimi Kaplowitz, Mary Blankenburg, Daniel Miller, Huy Vu, Jayme Hansen, Kate Fenker, Brandi Cochrane
Storyboard Artist: Steve Hess
Character Design: Brett Superstar, Steve Hess, Monique Ligons, Colin Batty
Principal Animators: Jerold Howard, Jeff Riley
Editorial Supervisor: JD Dawson
After Effects Supervisor: Tarn Fox
Composite Artists (After Effects): Orland Nutt, Brian Kinkley
Composite Artists (2D): Traci Cook
Post Production Co: Mission Control, Portland, OR
Colorist: Mike Quinn
Audio Post: Lime Studios
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