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Colossal adventures

To make the grade in kids advertising and promotion, high concept, high style and now, big names in kids production circles, are part of the homework. KidScreen checks in with Colossal Pictures to see how they've been interpreting the kid brief....
September 1, 1998

To make the grade in kids advertising and promotion, high concept, high style and now, big names in kids production circles, are part of the homework. KidScreen checks in with Colossal Pictures to see how they’ve been interpreting the kid brief.

The drawing boards at San Francisco-based production shop Colossal Pictures have been toiled over in high gear to handle the ever-important back-to-school season. According to Jana Canellos, executive producer at Colossal, her company’s track record shows a dedication to the kid demographic. ‘It’s part of our agenda. We’ve produced ads for Levi Strauss, Sega, Coca-Cola and General Mills. We’ve also done work for Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, HBO Kids, MTV and ABC. Our history is rich with kids work.’

Part of that agenda includes tapping natural resources with high kid-Q. The content development company recently commissioned animation savant John Kricfalusi to direct two 30-second spots that introduce Old Navy’s new line of ‘Big Pocket’ and ‘Flare’ jeans for kids. The ads, which began airing in July, represent Old Navy’s first TV advertising foray into the youth market.

Kricfalusi and his company Spumco have built a reputation for pushing the envelope-his groundbreaking Ren & Stimpy defined a new cartoon genre by combining the colorful clarity of modern animation with the simplistic geometric design and campy humor of `50s-style toons, but with a `90s edge. Capitalizing on the hip crowd’s yen for all things retro, the Old Navy spots continue in that teen-appeal fusion vein.

The ‘Big Pocket’ spot features two young campers, each laboring under the weight of a humongous backpack. They meet another boy wearing ‘Big Pocket’ jeans who lightens their load by pulling a full-sized camper van out of his big pocket.

Targeted to girls, the ‘Flare Jeans’ ad shows a young girl listening to a radio while jumping rope. In a matter of seconds, pants shoot down her legs and she is transformed into a rock guitarist joined by a full band called ‘The Flares.’

In another youth-centric project which, conceptually, draws heavily from kid-pop-culture (as well as recent movie themes), and is executed in a sophisticated multimedia style, Colossal created a series of 11 menus, IDs and bumpers for Nickelodeon that debuted July 15. The branding package, which runs until year’s end, incorporates a wide variety of techniques (including live-action, stop-motion, cel animation and CG), and features goofy images with lots of kid-appeal, such as a prima donna hamster lounging on a red plush divan and a marching band of Godzilla wind-up toys.

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