To educate humans on the benefits of saving money, the Acorns marketing team invented an astute and levelheaded talking squirrel who is more than generous with his advice. Painstakingly crafted by the artists at Odd Studios in Australia, the squirrel’s movements took three master puppeteers to articulate its subtle physicality and no-nonsense charm.
Helmed by director Spencer Susser – whose 2021 short Save Ralph featured a puppet protagonist voiced by Taika Waititi – this project was an example of a stellar collaboration spanning creative disciplines, companies, and countries.
For the two hero broadcast spots, we started with intense rig and puppeteer removal. Working with multiple layers of live-action and CG environments, props, and illustrations, our compositing team worked tirelessly to seamlessly blend them together in Flame and Nuke. To add a final polish, we carefully manipulated the squirrel’s mouth to achieve a perfect sync to a pre-recorded script read.
For the TikTok deliverables, we embraced a run-and-gun production style using hand-held iPhones to reflect the hallmarks of the platform. This approach allowed the creative to lean into a more impromptu style, capturing the squirrel’s off-the-cuff personality not seen before.
This project was a labor of love and involved so many moving parts. Check out some behind-the-scenes moments of the amazing teams that brought it all together.