CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY: Bird Talk



It isn’t often pet-food advertisers produce a truly innovative spot, but Whiskas’ talking-bird campaign represents a technological breakthrough – and it’s funny, too. Launched in the fall of 1992 by DMB&B/L.A., the $5-million campaign has been so successful two new spots are due out in January.
Defying conventional cat wisdom, the campaign features a colorful lovebird testifying that Whiskas tastes better than he does – and is more nutritious. ‘It’s a taste option,’ says creative director John Armistead, ‘between the food versus our little guy.’
The tough-talking bird is actually two little guys, electronically enhanced to look like one. The process involved capturing the birds’ beaks in thousands of subtly different positions, then matching them to a pre-recorded voiceover, coordinating the best head angles, correcting color discrepancies and adding ‘human’ features, like eyelids and a tongue. It took two days of constant shooting to produce the final 72 frames, and each spot took three days of editing.
Armistead admits it was technology that allowed them to make this advance in animal manipulation, but he credits director John Clive with the spots’ realism. ‘One woman wrote to us,’ he says, ‘and said, ‘I’m interested in training my bird, how’d you get yours to do that stuff?’ ‘
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)


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