Skyler Animation Plays Reindeer Games For Peanuts

In creating a new holiday spot for nut company Planters, ad agency Foote Cone & Belding/NY commissioned Portland, Ore.-based Skyler Animation to bring Santa’s reindeer to life through the art of stop motion.

Recently formed by talent from Vinton Studios, Skyler boasts a crew with collective credits including Mad TV, MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch, The PJs, Gary & Mike, James and the Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Claymation Christmas Celebration and Phantom Investigators.

The spot, titled Reindeer Games, begins with a live-action exchange between Santa and Mrs. Claus. Directed by Steve Chase of Reactor Films, the intro has St. Nick and his better half discovering that the reindeer have stolen their stash of Planters nuts. Cut to the reindeers’ shack where a “nutty” party is in full swing with the sleigh pullers dancing, mixing it up on the turntables and of course, enjoying the product.

Working on a tight, six-week schedule, the team at Skyler had to design, produce and animate more than 20 individual stop motion puppets. The reindeer consisted of clay heads on foam bodies with internal armatures. CG was employed for lighting effects and product shots.

Coming on the heels of Skyler’s recent retooling of the Roundup weed killer campaign, Reineer Games began airing nationally on Nov. 11. The studio’s team included co-directors Cameron Gray and Guy Burwell; lead animators Kyle Bell, Jeff Mulcaster and Sean Burns; and dp Dan Ackerman. Mission Control in Portland provided editorial services and Rhinoceros in New York provided final compositing.