California’s state mascot explains the “bear” facts of energy conservation in a new television and online ad campaign directed by A Common Thread’s Eli Green for Energy Upgrade California and Campbell Ewald.
In one spot, a large golden bear appears in the den of a white-washed bungalow and makes a pitch to camera about how easy it is to save energy. He’s affable, but shows he’s still a bear as he growls at a production assistant when he flubs a line. He then cheerfully directs viewers to the website for Energy Upgrade California.
In additional spots, the bear invites viewers into other rooms of his home while offering tips on low-flow showerheads, LED lighting and upgrading appliances. The tagline is “It’s Easy to Stay Golden."
The bear that appears in the spot was an animatronic creature operated by a trio of puppet-eers. To keep things fresh, Green recorded the bear’s performances live, with a voiceover actor, positioned just off stage, speaking its lines. “It was a lot of fun working with the puppeteers,” Green recalls. “They could do just about anything and react on the fly to what the voice-over actor was doing. The amount of personality they brought to it was amazing.”
Green says that the bear’s character flaws make him all the more endearing. “Most of the time, he can compose himself like a human being, but every now and then the bear comes through,” he explains. “The trick was to find those moments when he reveals his animal side.”
The spots are simply, but precisely art directed. The monotone walls and green-grass carpet of the set subtly recall the colors and design of the California state flag. “By using a chic minimalist styling tied into our all-white design, we created a cool, modern, welcoming den for our California Bear’s life,” Green says.