Calabash dials it up to 19 million for PayPal campaign

"Paypal Ubiquity"

“Paypal Ubiquity”

Animation studio
teams with
design house
Run Kick Shout
on digital spots
about payment systems
created by Walrus

The old journalism adage “show me, don’t tell me” is visually appropriated cleverly in a new six spot online ad campaign for PayPal entitled Ubiquity.

Created by agency Walrus, New York, and featuring character animation from Calabash, the work visually highlights just how much 19 million actually is.

The number is significant because it represents how many online retailers accept PayPal.

The 15-second spots, animated in partnership with Chicago-based design house Run Kick Shout, show it’s also way more than, say, the amount of pigeons in New York City (roughly 4 million), or Americans named Bob (over 4.5 million), to name just two.



“Walrus had great concepts and a clear idea of what they were looking for stylistically, which provided us with a lot of inspiration,” says Sean Henry, Calabash Executive Producer. “They came to us to develop the action and the final look of the animation, so we took their concepts a step or two further, and in several cases offered a few different options and alternatives where the original concepts were a little more open-ended. It was very collaborative and we had fun brainstorming ideas to convey the message in fun and inventive ways.”

Collaboration Success
Each spot opens in a clinical “infographical” kind of way, complete with an overly serious voiceover, that uses a bar graph with PayPal logo atop to emphasize the multitude of online vendors that accept PayPal. For example, the spot that emphasizes PayPal’s acceptance at 90,000 gaming sites opens with 2 animated characters running from hordes of zombies. Suddenly the bar graph rises and reveals a gaming hub where the pair purchase weapons and quickly quashes the zombie apocalypse.

The evolution of "Paypal Ubiquity"
The evolution of “Paypal Ubiquity”

Similarly the spot showcasing PayPal’s acceptance at 190,000 travel sites shows a lone man eating microwave ramen noodles in a sparse room, when the bar graph suddenly rises and transforms first into an airport terminal and then into a Vietnamese city where the man purchases authentic noodles from street vendor.

“From the start, we had a strategic partnership with Run Kick Shout, who we have known for several years,” Wayne Brejcha, Calabash Creative Director, says. “Creative Directors Erik Jensen and Nick Hopkins took on the task of lighting, rendering, inventing and adding effects like the zombie laser blasts and finally compositing the spots. For the pigeons and all of the Bobs, they created the flocking, the crowd multiplication and the stacking up of all the little figures that we animated individually. All of that depended on close collaboration with our team.”

For Hopkins the project played to each studio’s strengths with Run Kick Shout’s aesthetic and portfolio matching the look that Walrus was after, while Calabash’s direction and character animation was essential to success.

“We ended up with a workflow and collaboration that brought the best of both worlds from both companies,” Hopkins says. “One big challenge was efficiency. Each spot had to deliver at three different aspect ratios: 16×9, 1×1 and 9×16. We’ve noticed that most content we’re making is now meant for the web and social networks. To help keep things as streamlined as possible, we ended up rendering everything at 2500 x 2500 pixels and then re-positioned all of it to work for each aspect ratio. That meant we could take one render out of Cinema 4D and use it for all deliverables. This saved us a huge amount of time and kept file sizes a lot more manageable.”

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 in 2002.

Creative Credits
Client: PayPal
Project: 6 spot online ad campaign (6 x :15)

Agency: Walrus, New York
   Owner, CCO: Deacon Webster
   Producer: Chris Thielo
   Director of Integrated Production & Creative Services: Valerie Hope
   Associate Creative Director: Evan Vosburgh
   Sr. Art Director: Evan Bross:
   Copywriter: Marco Diaddezio:

Animation: Calabash, Chicago, IL
   Creative Director: Wayne Brejcha
   Executive Producer: Sean Henry
   Production Manager: Diane Grider
   Lead Animator: Jeff Mika
   Character Animation:
      Jeff Mika, Jimmy Wasion, Nick Oropeza,
      Levi Ames, Sydney Leining, Nathan Tungseth,
      Kristen Rhee, Corey Stisser, David Brancato

Animation/Design: Run Kick Shout, Chicago, IL
   Creative Directors: Nick Hopkins, Erik Jensen
   Animation: Nick Hopkins, Erik Jensen, Brody Davis, John Filipkowski
   Lighting & Rendering: Nick Hopkins, Erik Jensen

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