In 2005 the Coca-Cola company launched a project called Magnificent 5, or M5 for short, inviting five design studios from five continents to create “visions of optimism”. Each of the studios, Caviar (Japan), The Designers Republic (U.K.), MK12 (U.S.A.), Rex & Tennant McKay (South Africa), and VetorZero/Lobo (that’s us) was commissioned to create an exclusive aluminum Coke bottle design and a short film set to a song by a rising group. We were assigned the song “You Gotta Hold On” by The Flaming Lips, and set about to conceive a script inspired by it. Not an easy task, since Coke granted us complete freedom to create everything, from story to visual direction – one of the most daunting and yet enticing aspects of the project.
We wanted to tell a tale of optimism that didn’t look away from the gritty side of reality; one that showed how hope can emerge even out of dire situations. Eventually we arrived at a plot in which creatures made of discarded bits and pieces get together and, through mutual help and joint action, manage to improve their conditions and fill their bleak surroundings with color.
It was only natural that we chose the stop-motion animation technique to bring this tale to life. We went out and rummaged through junkyards and swap meets, searching for old toys, electrical appliances and everything else containing interesting parts. Back in the studio, we started playing around and combining those finds in order to create the characters for our film, ending up with over a dozen different creatures. From then on it was the stop-motion animation team’s job to assemble articulated models from the character designs, sometimes using those same found parts, in other cases casting more practical substitutes using lighter materials.
The stop-motion footage was shot in a chroma-key set, and the takes were then composed in After Effects over a digital scenario, made of textures and patterns taken from actual photographs of the streets of our hometown São Paulo.