- Wednesday, Jun. 27, 2018
Airstream has been making its instantly recognizable brand of travel trailers with their distinctive rounded shape and polished aluminum look since the 1930s. With their new fiberglass travel trailer, Nest, Airstream explored a new market while pushing the design envelope. The compact, easy-to-tow Nest is unlike anything else in the travel trailer world, necessitating a suitably creative marketing approach. Airstream and its creative agency Upward Brand Interactions, Dayton, OH, turned to Calabash to create a pair of animated hummingbird characters named Gigi and Dave that serve as tour guides in the new online campaign.
“The expectations for the launch of the Airstream Nest were very high and so we wanted to make sure that we had partners that could provide both creativity and technical expertise,” said Jean Silverstein, Sr. Client Strategist at Upward Brand Interactions, one of Airstream’s creative agencies. “Calabash was an ideal partner for this project because they were extremely flexible to work with and their animation did a great job bringing the creative direction to life through the Dave and Gigi characters. They were truly instrumental in the success of this launch.”
For Sean Henry, Calabash’s Executive Producer, the choice of hummingbird characters was a natural decision for the Airstream ‘Nest. “Hummingbirds are just fun – they are fast and graceful and embody the freedom of movement that is central to what Nest is.”
Calabash Creative Director Wayne Brejcha agrees, “We liked the client’s choice of hummingbirds, little precise jewels of Mother Nature. That fits with Nest nicely.”
Birds’ Eye View
The first one-minute spot (several others will follow), entitled simply “Introducing Nest,” and running both on the company’s website, social media channels, on kiosks in Airstream showrooms and auto/RV trade shows, opens with our married hummingbird couple Gigi and Dave debating whether a particular tree will make a good nest location. Dave loves it because it’s so “branchy,” but Gigi calls it “pedestrian,” which leads them to look elsewhere and discover an Airstream Nest nearby.
As they fly in for a closer look, the witty dialogue continues with Dave loving it because it’s all “roundy.” From there, Gigi and Dave take a tour of the Nest both inside and out and are thoroughly impressed. One particularly amusing shot shows Dave testing out the Nest’s bed by falling gently onto the mattress and stretching out while gazing through the moon roof above.
Although the project was full of creative challenges, such as how to depict the speed with which hummingbirds’ wings flap (and yes they did study nature documentaries to accurately capture the specific figure-eight patterns hummingbird wings make in flight), as well as how big the notoriously tiny birds should appear when next to or inside the Nest. For Brejcha the key to the spot’s success centered on finding the balance between reality and a cartoon feel.
“Character animation has the flexibility to be both silly and sophisticated. With Airstream we were aiming for something towards sophisticated and realistic,” Brejcha says. “But we also needed the birds to break out of strict nature, to do playful or human things. Defining their unique mix of silly and photo-real was a fun challenge for us and the agency creatives.”
Henry adds, “The client appreciated the care our CG team put into making the spots look as great as possible. Our artists and animators gave Gigi and Dave realism as well as personality, and yet the animation draws attention to the cool features of the Nest without being distracting. It’s an excellent example of some of the broadcast-quality work we are creating that is solely for the web.
About Calabash Animation
Led by Creative Director Wayne Brejcha and Executive Producer Sean Henry, Calabash Animation is the Chicago, IL-based animation production studio known for its award-winning animation for the advertising and entertainment industries. Calabash Animation is perhaps best known for their creative character animation and development of some of America’s most beloved brand icons. In addition to it advertising working, the company has also produced several acclaimed short films, including ‘’Stubble Trouble,’’ which was nominated for an Academy Award®. Click here for more info about Calabash: http://calabashanimation.com/
Airstream, manufacturer of the iconic “silver bullet” travel trailer, is the longest-tenured recreational vehicle manufacturer in North America. Following founder Wally Byam’s credo, “Let’s not make changes, let’s only make improvements,” Airstream has remained a timeless classic. Byam’s vision for Airstream trailers was to use these design- and quality-driven products to allow people to dream, travel, and explore the open road. A subsidiary of Thor Industries, Airstream is based in Jackson Center, Ohio, where a team of craftsmen remains dedicated to preserving the brand’s legendary reputation for quality and innovation. For more information, please visit http://www.airstream.com/, call 877-596-6111 or contact Airstream, Inc., 419 West Pike Street, P.O. Box 629, Jackson Center, Ohio 45334.
More news about Airstream, our dealers and current travel trailer and touring coach models can be found at http://www.airstream.com. For the latest news on Airstream, “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @Airstream_Inc and Instagram @Airstream_Inc.
Client: Airstream Trailers
Project: Nest online launch ad campaign
Agency: Upward Brand Interactions, Dayton, OH
Senior Client Strategist: Jean Silverstein
Art Director: Greg Simmons
Script/Character Development: The Public Detective, Newport, RI
Production Company: BoomCrate, Dayton, OH
Animation: Calabash, Chicago, IL
Creative Director: Wayne Brejcha
Executive Producer: Sean Henry