The Jetsons, Hanna Barbera’s beloved family of the future are having a healthy second career as TV ad spokespeople. You can catch Geroge Jetson, wife Jane, Rosie the Robot and family dog Astro in a new 30-second Tums spot, animated by the talented team at J.J. Sedelmaier Productions. In the ad, George turns to Tums’ new QuikPak, a new powder antacid from GlaxoSmithKline to cure his upset stomach. The ad is part of a $20 million marketing campaign that launched this week.
Sedelmaier was approached by the ad agency because they had liked the work he had done with established characters from TV series, print cartoons and comic strips. ‘Warner Bros. owns a huge library, and has its own animation studio as well,’ says Sedelmaier. ‘They license these characters and in some cases do the animation themselves, but they’ve also authorized a select group of studios to work with these characters. As an approved studio for Nickelodeon, we’ve produced work starring Ren and Stimpy and other Nicktoons staples. We’ve also recreated Underdog, Jonny Quest and Speed Racer, as well as countless icons for SNL and Comedy Central. So when it came to The Jetsons, our reputation preceded us.’
For Tums, the studio examined the evolution of the look of the characters to arrive at the right feel for the spot. ‘We have lots of Jetsons reference material, including a large library of model sheets,’ J. J. adds. ‘We wanted to make this look like the original cartoon, not just a modern use of the characters. We wanted to make sure we were using model sheets from an earlier time in the characters’ history, but we then employed modern devices and techniques to produce them.’
The studio experimented with a variety of digital techniques to re-create some of the subtle elements of the series’ classic cel animation. One example is the subtle color variations throughout the spot, used to simulate the discreet shifts in color that would occur in multiple layers of cel animation.
‘There’s a visual phenomenon that happened with cel-based animation where, when layers of cels were placed on top of each other to shoot, the act of moving each cel around to produce motion’say an arm or a leg’would create a slight shift in color,’ explains Sedelmaier. Now that everyone uses digital ink and paint, the result you see is very clean and uniform. We tried to re-create some of those subtleties of cel animation, to bring a more classic look to the piece.’
You can learn more about Sedelmaier by visiting www.jjsedelmaier.com.