The design studio teams with SpotCo to produce a hand-drawn film for Sting’s new Broadway show.
SANTA MONICA, California—The Last Ship, a Broadway-bound musical from Sting, receives an elegant launch via a beautiful, hand-crafted commercial from design studio Bl:ndand entertainment marketing agency SpotCo. The ad tells a story, inspired by the show’s script, of fathers, sons and a red ship, through a series of impressionistic illustrations hand painted by Bl:nd’s creative team. The Last Ship makes its world premiere in Chicago this summer, followed by a Broadway run in the fall.
SpotCo presented Bl:nd with the show’s logo, which features a red ship riding the crest of a circular wave, and an open brief. “The logo is beautiful, but ambiguous,” says SpotCo art director Craig Shaloiko. “It’s meant to be subjective; viewers interpret it in their own way. We wanted to apply that same process to the production of the spot. We asked Bl:nd to apply their interpretation to the artwork. They took it and ran with it.”
Bl:nd creative director Greg Gunn, art director Tuna Bora and designer Julia Wright began by reading the show’s script and from there they developed a simple story involving several generations of fathers and sons, with the red ship from the logo as a connecting motif. They then began exploring ways of bringing the story to life. “We started sketching and before we knew it, we had a bottle of ink and were painting,” Gunn recalls. “It was a lot of fun and a rare opportunity to turn the computer off and get your hands dirty.”
Gunn and his team produced a series of illustrations representing key moments in the story. They then developed novel ways of animating the drawings and transitioning between them. Artists applied sweeping, textual brush strokes to paper and photographed them on a stage. Those textures, along with scans of the illustrations, were brought into a computer environment and manipulated so that one scene appears to melt into the next. Gunn describes the effect like “wind blowing the viewer into the next scene.”
Cox says that the finished spot captures the emotional core of the musical in a way that a more literal approach could not. “The story centers on people who take on the task of building a ship with their bare hands,” he says. “The commercial, too, is crafted by hand. It’s not a not a digital creation. It’s a painting.”
Agency: SpotCo. Stacey Lieberman Prince, Darren Cox, creatives; Tom Coppola, producer.
Production: Bl:nd. Greg Gunn, Creative Director; Tobin Kirk, Executive Producer; Amy Knerl, Head of Production, Bridget Carroll, Post Producer; Tuna Bora, Art Director; Julia Wright, Designer; Dylan Spears, Jamal Otolorin and Daniel Zhang, 2D Animators.
Tools: Photoshop, After Effects
Since 1995, Blind™ has produced projects from conception to reality with award-winning design that engenders surprise and far exceeds client expectations. Cutting-edge campaigns for brands such as Xbox, Audi, Showtime, Sony, DirecTV, OppenheimerFunds, McDonald’s, Scion, and recording artists including Gnarls Barkley, The Raveonettes, Cinematic Orchestra and Justin Timberlake have made Blind the go-to company for award winning creative. We are open, collaborative and use our collective experience, design and technical knowledge to create meaningful and compelling content for all mediums. Our goal is to continue to be the company that clients rely on to deliver creative excellence and service so outstanding in its responsiveness that they become enthusiastic fans.