The guys called for a commercial in the jungle with dancing chimps. We had vowed never to use chimps in a commercial after doing the HBO spot with chimps in the wild, so I challenged their thinking. Thank goodness the client disavowed using chimps, because there was another campaign with chimps on the air (I think). I don’t imagine there was any altruism there.
‘Use a baby elephant.’
‘There are no baby elephants in the jungle.’
‘Yes, there are. The rainforest encircles the globe.’
‘They aren’t funny.’
So after a lesson on geography, mammalogy, and a history of cinema, the guys warmed to the idea (sort of).
‘How will we do it?’
I explained that we build a set and have Vince Paterson choreograph elephants to the original Gene Kelly music, ‘Singin’ In The Rain.’ We would build elephant feet to scale and have dancers tethered to match the proportions of the elephant. Quietman would then create the body of the elephant.
Worked like a charm. Vince agreed to do it (the key element) and the dancers were athletic enough to dance with the enormous prosthetic feet and Johnny Semerad at Quietman did a terrific job of adding the body.
Johnny’s brilliance is that he said we could shoot without restraints, ignoring water splashes, sun flares, overlaps, etc. That meant that Vince could concentrate on the choreography without any restrictions, a blessing.
When the client heard the ripoff track, they decided to purchase the original.
The spot was so successful that people requested DVD’s.