"I exist! I do, I do!"

Bent Image Labs' Ken Lidster worked with Deutsch/LA to create this animated fest of a spot.

With a nod to the stop-motion/Rudolph animation specials of yore, our Diet Dr Pepper hero joins the unbelievable Santa, the Easter Bunny, a leprechaun, the Tooth Fairy, Sasquatch, and an alien in a spartan support group room to discuss how we can make people believe.

"So you want people to believe there's a satisfying diet drink? Good luck with that one, Bub"

"You can wait your whole life and never get a commercial script with such an outstanding plot. I thought this was the best thing I'd ever read before I even got to the end of the first sentence," noted Lidster. "The folks at Deutsch really hit a home run with this one, and I'm so glad they looked to Bent to make this happen."

The process for creating this campaign parallels work Lidster established for JWT New York a few years back. Lipton Brisk's Dojo featured a stop-motion battle between martial arts legend Bruce Lee, the Karate Kid and his master, Mr. Miyagi, which earned an animation category honor in the 2000 AICP Show and inclusion in the MoMA's film archives. Lidster also directed memorable stop-motion campaigns for Chips Ahoy, while Bent Image is known for countless `Rudolph' inspired visuals including OfficeMax (Santa's Helper) with Eddie Steeples, AFLAC with an animated flying goose, and two Alltel campaigns.

Lidster and the rest of the Bent team worked closely with the agency on all stages of the project, from developing the characters' personalities, going from character sketches through a variety of clay models to pop through staging, and final animation performance. Deutsch also visited Bent's Portland studio several times to approve pre-production elements, final lighting, initial scene preparation, post production, and final color correct.

Bent created duplicates of the set and triples of the nine-inch-high characters to streamline production. They then shot the stop-motion on high-res digital cameras. Certain shots, such as the soda pour, were done on one of the studio's in-house Red cameras, using the Red Ultra Prime lenses.

"Ken is a master when it comes to projects such as this," noted Bent Partner/EP Ray Di Carlo. "He's second-to-none with character development and has an amazing attention to detail work ethic. In typical Bent fashion, the team rallied together to create the entire campaign in-house. The agency came to us with a great idea and we're fortunate they were such strong collaborators - we're really happy with the final product."

Client: Diet Dr Pepper Spots Title: I Exist Air Date: September 2009 Agency: Deutsch, LA President/Chief Creative Officer: Eric Hirshberg SVP/Group CD: Chris Ribiero Sr. Designer: Marius Gedgaudas Sr. Producer: Tracy Jones SVP, Group Account Director: Valencia Gayles Account Director: Helen Murray Prod Co: Bent Image Lab/Portland, OR Director: Ken Lidster EP: Ray Di Carlo Sr Producer: Tsui Ling Toomer Producer: Kara Place Coordinator: Ryan Shanholtzer DP: Mark Eifert Product Shoot DP: Jay Wesley Jones Stage Manager: Jim Birkett AD/Set Designer: Curt Enderle Art Department Director: Solomon Burbridge Art Department: Greg Fosmire, Marty Easterday, Kimi Kaplowitz, Mary Blankenburg, Daniel Miller, Huy Vu, Jayme Hansen, Kate Fenker, Brandi Cochrane Storyboard Artist: Steve Hess Character Design: Brett Superstar, Steve Hess, Monique Ligons, Colin Batty Principal Animators: Jerold Howard, Jeff Riley Editorial Supervisor: JD Dawson After Effects Supervisor: Tarn Fox Composite Artists (After Effects): Orland Nutt, Brian Kinkley, Jay Twenge, Sean Saul Composite Artists (2D): Traci Cook Post Prod: Downstream/Portland, OR Colorist: Jim Barrett
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about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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