Johnny Kelly & Nexus Inspire Conscious Consumption with Black Market

Back Market (blackmarket.com), a global marketplace offering accessible pricing on quality devices as a more sustainable alternative to buying new, launched its “Tech Reborn” campaign this week having enlisted double Cannes Grand Prix winner, Johnny Kelly, to create the centerpiece film, The Monster.

Brought to life with whimsical puppetry and featuring two unlikely friends — a tech-disgorging monster and a concerned little girl — the film highlights the impact of our insatiable desire for the new, offering an alternative, regenerative approach. The production featured over 20 hand-crafted puppets, three of which were different versions of the Monster himself, the young girl, four city slickers, four miners, four zoned out tech fans … not to mention the crying clouds. The spot was also topped off with a bit of stop-motion animation and 2D compositing.

The Monster
The Monster

Tapping into the unique personalities of the characters was particularly vital for the larger-than-life Monster, who is simultaneously emotive and comedic. The character is made up of a tangled ball of discarded charger cables and headphones, wobbling on slim cord limbs and sparking off a chaotic consumeristic energy.

“Somehow, I get to play with puppets for a living, and this particular puppet was especially fun to play with,” says Kelly. “Assembled from the kind of cables you find in every drawer, in every home around the globe — Monster is a sort of big-tech ‘Mr. Messy’. Behind the juggling phones and belching phablets however, is a slightly less silly message about our obsession with the new, and the havoc our over-consumption is wreaking on the world.”

The Monster
The Monster

Kelly’s animation team at Nexus Studios (nexusstudios.com) used photogrammetry to capture the sets, puppets and props to help with previsualization and developed a more dynamic turnaround for compositing, enabling the animation team to quickly visualize in a 3D space how the 2D animation will track on to the real-life puppet’s face. For the magical scene where the phone is made new again, the team used stop motion along with clever choreographed lighting to craft a stylized representation of the Back Market phone regeneration process.

“The story of The Monster asks us to reflect on our own buying habits and challenges the belief that you have to sacrifice something when buying products that have a lower impact on your wallet and the environment. Back Market believes we should do more with what we already have, an idea shared through the tale of a monster who sees that ‘new’ isn’t always better,” said Woody Wright, Head of U.S. Marketing, Back Market.

The Monster
The Monster

“We feel privileged to have worked alongside visionaries like Nexus, Johnny Kelly, Andy Gent, and their talented teams. Johnny’s clear and delightful vision of The Monster helped elevate the script and overall message, and we couldn’t be more proud with how the campaign was brought to life.”

Master model maker Andy Gent and his talented team were behind the creation of Monster and the other puppets. Set fabrication from Asylum and Arch Model Studio.

The Monster is launching regionally in New York in time for the U.S. holidays and will be placed in Premium Video Placements and Premium Social, with notable broadcast moments including the Thanksgiving Day Parade and Christmas in Rockefeller Center.

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