re:think recreates Norelco’s iconic Santa’s ride spot

Scene from Philips Norelco Santa spot, airing Dec. 12

Men of a certain age might remember Philips Norelco’s 1990s commercial of Santa Claus’ epic ride over snow-covered hills to deliver a Norelco razor. 

Santa will ride again, this time atop Philips Norelco’s state-of-the-art SensoTouch 3D rechargeable electric razor, in recreated stop motion 15 and 30-second spots.

that start airing Dec. 12 on network television and cable outlets that skew to male demographics, and on YouTube.

The Chicago branch of the Walton/Isaacson agency came up with the concept and tapped 3D/CGI specialists re:think studios, to modernize the iconic spot.  re:think delivered the finished spots three weeks after winning the bid.

 “The creative started out as a banner ad and escalated to a 15-second pre-roll just for YouTube,” says Brian Bullock, re:think studio’s CGI director and partner in the new company recently formed with lead facilitator John McGrath and editor Jessica Simmon.  

re:think studios’ CGI director Brian Bullock“When the agency saw the early results, the Philips Norelco marketing team decided to add the spot to their 2011 holiday broadcast schedule,” he adds.

re:think studios partnered with former Chicago-based Bix Pix Entertainment, headed by Kelli Bixler, who moved her 25-year old stop-motion studio to Burbank in 2006.

“We also bolstered our abilities by bringing Another Country in the mix for sound design,” says Bullock.

Normally, re:think studios would’ve created an entirely CG spot, Bullock notes. “The imagery had to be very respectful of the look and feel of that classic campaign, so we thought of ways to build upon and supplement the craftsmanship of stop-motion filmmaking.”

Bix Pix’ Drew Hodges directed and animated all stop motion and zipped the files to re:think overnight.

“We modeled and animated the 3D razor, creating all the matte paintings for backgrounds and adding little touches, such as flickering lights in the barn, that helped bring the scenes to life – and finally editing, compositing and lighting the final piece,” says Bullock.

Kelli Bixler says she was delighted with the assignment, especially since her company began branching into commercials this year. 

“Bringing Santa to life was great fun, and we got to introduce two new characters to this quintessential campaign — Santa’s elf and reindeer — who happened to need a good shave.  We couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present.”

Walton Isaacson, calling itself “The planet’s most interesting agency,” was founded in late 2005 by industry veterans Aaron Walton and Cory Isaacson in partnership with Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. 

Current clients include Lexus, Unilever (Axe/Degree/Dove/Suave), Beam Global Spirits and Wine (Knob Creek/Skinny Girl/Courvosier), Caesar’s Entertainment, One.Org, among others.

Agency credits: senior creative, Andrew Holton; designer, Diana Litavsky; producer, Nathan Brown.

Production credits: Bix Pix Entertainment:stop-motion Director, Drew Hodges; stop-motion executive producer, Kelli Bixler. Re:think studios:  editor/compositor, Jessica Simmon; lead 2D designer, Michelle Timpone; CG artists, Cory Irvin, Drew Parks, James Matthew Taylor.

re:think studio is located in new 2,800-sq. ft. offices at 955 W. Fulton Market. Contact John McGrath, 312/286-9333.