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Holiday Spirit, Reverse Engineered

And we come to it at last… that magical time of year that finds ad agencies seeking out clever ways to wish their clients a happy holiday season. As one of those agencies, we know the deal: make it neat, make it sweet, make it good.

And voilà .

Our challenge? Not all TBGers are artists—or have legible handwriting. Our solution? Create the art and writing ahead of time—and create the illusion of legibility and artsiness. Our trick? Do the whole thing backwards.

  1. A designer creates the final piece of digital art.
  2. She projects that art onto a whiteboard, where it’s carefully traced with a dry erase marker.
  3. A popped cork—the video’s final animation—is drawn in stop motion, one position at a time over the course of ten to fifteen frames.
  4. Then, one by one, TBGers are filmed erasing a single letter or image at a time in a prearranged order, ensuring that the “TBG” won’t be revealed until the very end.
  5. The first TBGer, who will appear last, is filmed walking backwards into the frame.
  6. The last TBGer, who will appear first, is filmed walking backwards out of the frame.

That’s how we did it. It’s a complicated way to achieve a simple effect. But it works.

And we hope it brings you some holiday cheer.