J. J. Sedelmaier Prods., the animation studio best known for collaborating with comedian Robert Smigel on cartoons for Saturday Night Live a few years ago, has informed us of its latest television project, a series of spots for Outback Steakhouse. The company worked with New York ad agency Kaplan-Thaler Group to produce the Aboriginal-themed graphic branding animation for two new ads titled ‘Get Out of Your Cell’ and ‘Untie Your Life’
The commercials are designed to present Outback as a way to take a break from the day-to-day pressures of everyday life. The animated segments feature figures that liberate themselves from their cell phones and their cubicles. In ‘Untie Your Life,’ the figures sit in front of computers, pounding away at their keyboards until one bangs his fists down in defiance, rips off his tie and tosses it out of the window. At the end of the spot, the same figure is seen outside the office, where countless other ties are raining down. The spots are cut to a version of the somewhat obscure pop tune ‘Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games,’ recorded by the group Of Montreal, with new lyrics supplied by the agency.
Director/producer J. J. Sedelmaier and his team of animators worked from a design theme developed by Brand Architecture, the firm retained by Outback to oversee the redesign of all aspects of the restaurant chain, from the menus to the d’cor. ‘This was really a collaborative effort all around,’ says Sedelmaier. ‘Between the agency’s input, our studio’s contribution and the template created by Brand Architecture, we were all working off design elements and creative influences from each other. The key was getting all the pieces to work together, and John and his team at Kaplan-Thaler did a beautiful job of it.’
Sedelmaier’s crew on the spots include production manager/animator Dave Lovelace, animators Dan Madia and Tony Eastman, assistant animator/track reader John Bonarrigo and assistant animators Gene DeCicco, Byron Moore, Jim Petropoulos and Claire Widman. Digital ink and paint was performed by David Lipson and Luciano Geronimo of DL Digital Ink & Paint.