Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vodafone ZooZoo Cartoon Ads: Are they real humans?

ZooZoo's are the new eye-catching and very funny looking creatures in the new Vodafone ads that are mostly screened during the current IPL matches. But little did anyone know that they were real human's that were acting the show and not some animated character's as most of us had previously thought off. ZooZoo have now become an icon for Vodafone. Fresh from the Vodafone's Ad inventory, these cute and pesky looking characters promote most of Vodafone's services in a very funny, quirky and laughable way.

ZooZoo's were conceptualized by the Ad agency O&M for the latest Vodafone Ad campaigns. ZooZoo characters though they look like animated characters are actually played by real people. The real people are dressed in white outfits. The sets have been constructed by shadows created by spray painting.

It seems that the production team divided the outfit into two separate parts - body and head. The body part of the outfit was stuffed with foam in some places, while the head was attached separately. To make it look bigger than a human head, a harder material called Perspex was used, which in turn was stuffed with foam (with scope for ventilation). Here's how they decided on the size of ZooZoo's head: a human head would typically reach up to the mouth level of this giant Zoozoo head. So the creators kept the hands and legs thin. Also, the cast comprised mostly of women – and occasionally children coz they fitted well into it. The thin limbs, contrasted with big bellies and a bulbous head, all add to the illusion that these creatures are ‘smaller’ than humans.

Sets were actually created to suit the size of the Zoozoos. Cinematically, ZooZoo's actual size was a trick: the creatures look smaller than they actually are on screen, this was done deliberately to portray a different world of sorts. For this, the speed of shooting was altered, it is originally shot in a high-speed format to make them look the size that they do and also make their movements look funny.

Also, another trick up the sleves of O&M was to use simple backdrops that were created and spray painted with neutral Greys – a colour of choice so that attention isn’t diverted from the ZooZoo's (main characters). And also for a supposedly ‘outdoor’ shot, even the shadow of a Zoozoo was kept ‘live’ and not done in post production: it was painted in a darker shade of grey on the ground!!. And an even lighting was maintained throughout. O&M claims that there was virtually no post production work done.

The films were shot by Nirvana Films in Cape Town, South Africa, with the help of a local production house there, called Platypus. Incidentally, the same combination of people also worked on the ‘Happy to Help’ series last year round for Vodafone.

Also there is a very cool ZooZoo community on Facebook which has thousands of fans(including me). The group has ZooZoo commercials that have been released so far, ZooZoo emoticons and also ‘Tag me’ application.

You can also watch all the ZooZoo Video's online here.

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