Directors J.J. Sedelmaier, Brendan Gibbons Mesh Animation, Live Action For Progressive Insurance


Robert Goldrich
Wednesday, Apr. 4, 2018


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Combining animation and live action--directed by J.J. Sedelmaier and Station Film’s Brendan Gibbons, respectively--this fun commercial starts as a jaunty ballad playing while a giant heroic character confidently marches through a forest with colorful tree-tops passing at his feet. The cartoon looks vintage and hearkens back to animation done in the 1950s--clean lines, bright colors and mid-century stylized design. His name is “Big Jim” and he’s there to help homeowners deal with disaster. Big Jim saves a couple with a flooded home, another with a disastrous fire, and finally a woman whose automobile has been crushed by a nearby tree. The cartoon opening culminates with Big Jim effortlessly stepping over a house and posing heroically over his protected domain--but it doesn’t end there.

As the cartoon approaches its end, we hear another voice taking over the song being sung. The animation transitions into live action, and we see Progressive spokesman Jamie, standing in the same position as Big Jim and reveling in the dreamland he’s inhabited for the past :16. He’s standing in the driveway of a suburban home, next to a car with a large tree branch upon it. The homeowner appears and asks, “Soooo.... This is covered, right ?”, awakening Jamie from his imaginary existence. He confirms to her that Progressive has it all covered, gets on his phone and calls in the event using his squeaky “UN Big Jim-like” voice...

Once again, Sedelmaier’s studio found itself in a retro/parody realm of commercial production.--this time for a spot entitled "Big Jim." “We all agreed (helmed by Arnold art director Abby Gross) that we wanted the animated portion to look and feel like a good ol’ fashioned cartoon!” said director J.J. Sedelmaier, “I knew that Andy Friz (designer/animator) would totally “get it” right away, and also felt that an early 1950’s “Paramount/Famous Studios” inspired style would be perfect--Andy pulled it together perfectly.”


Client Progressive Insurance Agency Arnold Worldwide, Boston Mike Lawson, SVP, executive producer; Sean McBride, EVP, executive creative director; Nate Donabed, Josh Kahn, VPs/creative directors; Abby Gross, sr. art director; Patrick Franklin, copywriter. Production--Live Action Station Film Brendan Gibbons, director; Caroline Gibney, producer; Geoff Clough, line producer. Animation J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, White Plains, NY J.J. Sedelmaier, director/producer; Andy Friz, designer/animator. Music HiFi Project Jack Bradley, exec producer. Soundtracks, Boston Color Nice Shoes Phil Choe, colorist; Tara Holmes, exec producer; Elizabeth Mitchell, producer. VFX Brickyard VFX Amy Appleton, exec producer; Ellen Schmitt, producer; Peter Bullis, lead VFX artist. Editorial Beast Merritt Duff, editor.

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