CRAFT: Reebok - 'Sofa'

After the success of 'Belly', which showed a man being chased by a stomach, creatives had to tackle the difficulties of portraying a man being pursued by his own sofa.

Reebok's 'Belly' in which an enormous blubbery pink stomach chases a hapless victim, has been one of the most popular campaigns of this year. It has achieved massive coverage in consumer press and resulted in people singing the scarily catchy "Belly's gonna get you", as they go about their business.

Following on from a winning ad is never easy and the agency responsible, Lowe Lintas, admits that it took some time to conjure up a sequel.

However, once the script was drafted - basically, 'man gets chased by sofa', the question was how it would be executed. Should it be realistic? Farcical? Would the humour of the idea translate to the TV screen? And just how should the effects be done?

Lowes received treatments from several directors but what attracted them to Frank Budgen was the fact that he wanted the effects to be real. It was to be a living, breathing sofa - a believable creature. This would add to the humour and appeal to the target audience - a cynical youth market.

For the same reasons, Budgen opted for subdued colours to give the ad a grungy rather than polished feel, and chose a character that people could identify with.

Jeremy Bowles, managing director at Lowe Lintas explains: "We do not have the budget of our competitor Nike, so we have to adopt a different style and approach." The brand is not, he asserts, about sporting jocks or competitions, but is a brand for people who enjoy everyday sporting activity.

The main question was whether animation or CGI would be used in the spot, or whether a more natural approach could be achieved using models and puppetteers. The team went with the latter and recruited the services of Asylum.

Mark Ward, project manager at Asylum, explains how the company created two sofas, one of which was made of polystyrene so that a team of pupeteers (dressed in blue so that they could be painted out in post), could throw it about more easily. It proved to be exhausting work and a team had to be on hand to continually repair the wrecked sofa.

From there, Barnsley at the Mill worked his magic and on the tape, shows how the spot came together.

The ad has attracted considerable attention with most people asking, 'How did they do that?'

The process was, in fact, surprisingly simple. Just goes to prove the old advertising adage, 'the simpler the better.'

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