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Chemical Effects Wraps up 2010 with High-Spirited Holiday Spotwork for Chevrolet, GMC and Southwest Airlines

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Visual effects company Chemical Effects wrapped up its ‘launch’ year with a series of high-spirited holiday spots. GSD&M Idea City, Leo Burnett and MacLaren McCann all tapped the company’s creative handiwork in campaigns for Southwest Airlines, GMC and Chevrolet, which are airing this month in the US and Canada.
For a whimsical series of three :30 spots promoting Chevrolet’s holiday sales event, MacLaren McCann and director Nick Piper (also Chemical Effects’ creative director) took the concept of holiday shopping to the dealership floor, inventing a scenario where car shoppers could ‘try on’ cars like clothes, literally flipping through them — while sitting in them — at the touch of a screen. To create the playful effect, Piper and Chemical Effects used computer generated (CG) models of each of the hero vehicles to achieve the dramatic car-flipping action. To transition seamlessly back and forth between live action and CG burly crew members rocked the vehicles by hand.

For GMC’s “Most Wonderful Time” and “Nutcracker” spots out of Leo Burnett, Piper and Chemical Effects turned their talents to creating a whole new mood for the Sierra. Delving back into footage shot for an earlier campaign, the creative team turned the truck from a hard-driving, terrain-crushing vehicle to a nimble, festive frolicker, enjoying rather than conquering nature. Visual Effects Supervisor Tim Rudgard and the Chemical Effects team added elegant plumes of airborne snow surging from beneath the truck’s tires and brilliant lens flares, and extended snow across the environment to give the landscape a pristine feel.
Taking an opportunity to remind holiday travelers about Southwest Airlines’ ‘bags fly free’ policy, GSD&M Idea City and directors The Hoffman Brothers took a ‘70s-cop-drama approach on its series of national spots. Featuring a S.W.A.T. team of Southwest employees in various scenarios where they free bags held hostage by a competing airline, the spots include key shots of competing airline jets — recognizable by their white bodies and blue/red markings, but with branding blurred. The actual planes shot were Southwest’s own distinctive blue and red aircraft. Enter Chemical Effects to color correct this key story element and create a nifty crash zoom-in on an official-looking in-camera badge that becomes a stylized emblem for the Bags Fly Free patrol. 
“These spots gave us the perfect opportunity to show what we can do,” said Chemical Effects’ Creative Director Piper. “We brought together a fresh team of artists and producers to launch Chemical Effects about six months ago and since then we’ve been able to work on some exciting projects with really great clients. These holiday spots are all spirited and upbeat and challenged us creatively in different ways. We had a lot of fun working on them.”
The GMC spots began airing across the US in November and run through January. The Chevrolet spots began airing in Canada in November and also run through January, and the Southwest spots are airing nationally in December. See spots from the campaign here:
About Chemical Effects
Chemical Effects, launched in 2010, directs, creates, animates and integrates visual effects for the world’s most successful commercials. Their collective creative work spans SuperBowl ads and Cannes Lion awards; spots for Pepsi, Toyota, Apple and other brands; music videos for Michael Jackson, Kylie Minogue and Lenny Kravitz; clients including GSD&M, TBWA/Chiat Day, J. Walter Thompson and more. Visit them in Santa Monica or at

Last changed: Sep 04 2014 at 3:36 PM



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