Creative in association withGear Seven

Hornet and Honda Unwrap the Joy of the Holidays with RPA

Production Company
New York, USA
CG meets stop motion in 'Happy Honda Days' spots from Peter Sluszka & Sam Mason

For the 2019 'Happy Honda Days' sales event, Honda and RPA teamed up with Hornet to create a holiday spot that would steer away from a typical CG job, and instead, cruise toward a more textured, tactile, altogether new world - one that would be constructed with the most iconic of holiday materials (wrapping paper) and conveyed with an appealing mix of stop motion and CG animation.

Hornet, fanatics for fresh approaches and immersive world-building, happily dove headfirst into the project. The first order of business was to marry the talents of two of Hornet’s most innovative world-builders: Sam Mason & Peter Sluszka. Separately, the former is a CG wiz and the latter, a stop motion veteran. Together, they became a dynamic director duo whose styles went together for this campaign like CR-V’s and off-roading, Civics and city-cruising, wrapping paper and presents.

The result has a coupled symmetry to it: two directors, two mediums, two 30-second spots (one for sedans, the other for SUV’s). The only thing missing was two turtle doves and maybe a partridge in a pear tree. More seriously, in addition to the 30-second spots, there was also a combined 60-second version, as well as a fully integrated set of deliverables for digital banners, social media, print, and even Honda’s first foray into the use of Pinterest as a sales campaign platform.

To create the spots required equal parts endeavour and ingenuity. As Sam says: “We really had to use our imaginations with some of the logic of the terrain, because we wanted the cars to look like they were driving fluidly and realistically even though the wrapping paper worlds were graphic and tactile. We wanted to make something old-fashioned and genuine that would bring to mind the tactile memories of opening presents as a kid.”

And according to Peter: “It was a tricky one from a design perspective because we never wanted the world to feel like a perfectly literal miniature landscape. We wanted it to feel more abstract. Something that was iconic and clearly created from wrapping paper that would bridge the gap between your sense of physical space with a more graphic sensibility. We were always looking for interesting ways to create some sense of depth or travel.”

A lot of the leg work was done during the previsulation phase to establish scene scale between the handcrafted paper world and the CG Honda cars layered on top. From there, the graphic paper worlds were filmed with 3D tracking and motion-control so that the cars could be seamlessly composited in post-production. There was also a big design component, as all of the roughly 30 bespoke wrapping paper designs were originally created by the Hornet team.

Ultimately, the CG and stop motion styles served as a vehicle into an entirely different world. The look and feel is addictive. And the cutting, ripping, and tearing of wrapping paper is about as sensorily pleasing as the smell and feel of a brand new [Honda] car.

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