New York — Click 3x recently provided design and animation services for two spots promoting Tyson’s Corner Center that use graphics and humor to show that the suburban Washington, D.C. mall has a store for every need in life—including the need to pacify an angry spouse. The spots were conceived by Adworks, Washington, D.C.
Dining Room opens with the camera panning through a kitchen where an elaborate meal has been prepared. Graphics appear over the mixer, soup pot and food processor, indicating the Tyson’s Corner Center store where they were purchased. Many more items are thus defined as the camera continues through the dining room whose table is laid with a crown roast, and stops on a woman sitting alone, her mood getting hotter as the food grows colder. The husband arrives, sees the food, realizes his mistake and beats a hasty retreat. A final graphic appears suggesting how he plans to extricate himself from the mess: Helzburg Diamonds.
The second spot, Guy’s Room, has the camera panning an apartment, graphics indicating the sources of his electronics and furnishing. It finds the apartment’s occupant, a 20-something man in a chair listening to hard rock at high decibel. The camera moves through a wall into an adjoining apartment where an older gentleman is enduring the racket. A graphic appears over a bottle of pain relief pills on the table before him, reading, "CVS."
Click 3x’s role was to create the animated titles and place them appropriately into the background scenes. "In the past Tyson’s Corner has relied primarily on radio advertising and that medium made it possible to include the names of many stores," explained Sandy Mislang, who produced the spot for the agency. "We were looking for an interesting way to do the same in television—and the graphics approach offered a way."
"But, while the graphics were important, they couldn’t dominate the spot," Mislang added. "Click 3x understood that and did an excellent job in making the spots clean and effective."
Dave Dimeola generated and animated the type in AfterEffects and also used the Adobe software to composite the graphics with the background. That proved to be challenging work as each of the more than 20 titles that appear in each spot needed to be individually tracked with backgrounds shot without the benefit of tracking marks. Dimeola initially animated the graphics to versions of the backgrounds rendered at high contrast in order to make it easier to find points to lock onto. Once the animation was set, he composited it over backgrounds at normal levels of contrast.
"Desktop tools have become very powerful, permitting our artists to create complex, beautiful and polished effects," said Click 3x executive producer Jason Mayo. "We are now able to use these tools to create a very high end look, quickly and efficiently." Dimeola performed all of the final compositing work in AfterEffects, ultimately producing the finished broadcast master.
Although nearly two dozen stores are named in the body of the spot, some 30 more Tyson’s Corner Center stores are not. Their names, however, appear in the commercial’s 4 second end tag. Click 3x designer Eve Lim designed the tag in which the mall’s logo appears over a field of animated type displaying the names of the retailers.
"It was a challenge to include all of the names in an elegant manner," explained Lim. "My technique was to put them all up and work backwards—simplifying the animation to the point where it feels relaxed and not crowded. Our intent was not so much that viewers would be able to read every name. Rather, we wanted to convey the sense that there are a huge amount of stores."
Click 3x’s interactive division, Click 3xi, is currently producing an interactive version of the spots for demonstration purposes. In the demo, the graphics will be used as links to detailed information about individual retailers. The demo’s purpose is to show how interactive features can be applied to traditional advertising to enhance the advertiser’s message or even to produce direct sales.