Ray Harryhausen, the animator responsible for the cult 60s movie,
One Million Years BC, had 90 minutes to tell his story. Mark Nunneley,
the director of the Kraft Jacob Suchards Dairylea Dunkers ad,
’dinotime’, had just 30 seconds to tell his.
The commercial for the new product, through J. Walter Thompson,
recreates a scene from One Million Years BC which starred Raquel Welch.
The ad shows a curvaceous beauty, clad only in a fur bikini, fleeing the
clutches of a giant ’tyrannosaurus rex’ - who eventually grabs the
heroine and dunks her in his pot of Dairylea cheese. The ad also comes
complete with a Hollywood-style voiceover which announces: ’The Dairylea
inside new Dairylea Dunkers is so delicious and creamy you’ll want to
dunk almost anything into it ...
however, we recommend you use the breadsticks provided.’
At this point, the dinosaur realises his mistake, goes all goofy and
starts dunking the breadsticks instead. Nunneley, who directed the film
through Bermuda Shorts, is now at RSA. The spot was written and art
directed by Siggi Halling and David Mackersey.
The volcanic island of Lanzarote - the setting for both the original
movie and the Dairylea ad - posed problems for the production team. In
Harryhausen’s day, there was just one hotel on the island; today it’s
swarming with tourists. The rugged landscape was hazardous for the
Racquel Welch lookalike, who needed constant first aid attention as the
script demanded that she repeatedly threw herself on the ground. Casting
was affected by the Equity dispute and a Spanish actress was eventually
The ad’s production involved a mixture of live action and animation.
The live-action footage was projected on to a screen in the studio,
while the dinosaur was animated in the foreground. The film crew had to
bear in mind a sense of scale to keep the girl in proportion with the
dinosaur. The technique used was so old, a projector had to be built for
the job. When it was finished, the film needed to be downgraded, so it
was scratched and the contrast altered at Framestore to create an
outdated appearance. The whole production process took just over three
The dinosaur was made at the Puppet Factory in Bristol and the process
took a team of ten almost five weeks to complete. Keen that the
techniques should match those of the 60s, they opted for a latex base
when today a more modern material such as silicon would be used.
The hardest part was getting the initial clay sculpt right, so a
dinosaur expert, who had helped with the original drawings for the ad,
was brought in. The dinosaur had to look fake by today’s standards. This
meant the wires were inserted after the cast was set so that the model
would hold its position.
Then Bermuda Shorts altered the model to make it look more friendly and
less Jurassic Park-like. Harryhausen was on hand as a consultant
throughout the process.
And the cost of all this? ’More expensive than most I’ve worked on,’