LOS ANGELES—A Common Thread’s Clay Staub has directed a new campaign for Universal Studios and Los Angeles agency David & Goliath that encourages park patrons to “find your inner Minion.” A bright and bubbly blend of live action, visual effects and computer animation, the spot promotes the park’s new attraction Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.
A family arrives at Universal Studios to find the park overrun with Minions, impulsive, mischievous yellow creatures featured in the films Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. They splash about in a fountain and duel with churros before dashing off to the new Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride—while encouraging the family to follow. When mom, dad and the two kids hop into one of the car’s rides, they are magically transformed into Minions themselves.
Known for his visual effects expertise (he served as second unit director on 300, Dawn of the Dead and Man of Steel), Staub directed live action scenes to conform to complicated CG elements. Most scenes were a mix of live, animation and visual effects components and each piece had to work technically and help tell the story in a fun and visual way. To accomplish the latter, Staub encouraged the actors to interact with unseen CG characters. “Our lead actor didn’t have a lot of experience with visual effects but by midday he assured me, he could ‘see’ the Minions,” Staub says.
The visuals are beautiful and the performances Staub draws from his human cast are spot on—a mixture of magic and fun. The family’s sense of wonder and surprise is evident from the first appearance of the captivating yellow creatures.
Staub’s previous experience with the creative team from David & Goliath also aided in making a complicated shoot go smoothly. “We’ve got a great relationship,” he says. “We all want the same thing, we were all there to problem-solve and we all made it happen!”
Client: Universal Studios
Title: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Production: A Common Thread. Clay Staub, Director; J.P. McMahon and Tristan Drew, Executive Producers.
Agency: David & Goliath. David Angelo Chairman, Chief Creative Officer; Carol Lombard Head of Production/Managing Director; Carrie Lighthall, Senior Broadcast Producer; Ben Purcell, Steve Yee and Chris Robertson, Group Creative Directors; Kris Grove Møller, Associate Creative Director; Mike Wilson and Allen Yu, Art Directors; Courtney Pulver, Copywriter; Sarah Allen Junior Art Director.
Editorial: Spinach Editorial. Adam Bright, Managing Director/Editor; Jonathan Carpio, Production Coordinator.
Animation: Illumination Entertainment. Rory Phillips, Gail Harrison, Fabrice Joubert and Frederic Hopp.
VFX: Eight VFX. Baptiste Andreiux, Shira Boardman.