"You can get with this, or you can get with that"
--The Choice is Yours, Andres "Dres" Titus and William "Mista Lawnge" McLean
In 2010, this sixty second commercial for the Kia Soul not only featured the company's spokeshamsters, but won Nielsen's Automotive Ad of the Year (Kia's second), an EFFIE award, and a pile of other advertising accolades.
This time out, the hamsters are in New York (or, in the Kia canon, Hamsterdam). Instead of appearing nude, in fur, they are wearing hoodies, track suits, Dj headphones, and gold
chains (the hoodies would be spun off in their own line of
clothing, Hamstar). Essentially a hip hop music video, the hamsters lip sync to "The
Choice is Yours," a 1991 track by the Black Sheep, intercut with shots of an urban
neighborhood complete with boom boxes, a basketball court, and a barber shop. We can get with "this" (the Soul) or we can get with "that" (other hamsters in the 'hood are driving a toaster, a washing machine, a cardboard box).
David&Goliath hired Partizan to produce. Antoine Bardou-Jacquet (who directed Cog, the 2003 Rube Goldberg-inspired promotion for the Honda Accord) helmed the spot, and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Guillermo Navarro (Pan's Labyrinth) was behind the lens.
FX house Framestore, fresh off
their animation of The Tale of the Three Brothers sequence for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, handled the CGI, taking three months to complete the animation.
The team essentially had to start over with the work they had done on "A New Way to Roll," switching from Renderman to Mantra to get the fur to look right. In addition to
the difficulty of compositing 45 hamsters into camera shots, the effects
team had to remove extraneous people, cars, and buildings from the
Director's Cut: <https://partizan.wiredrive.com/present-reel/token/29c93525aaaf4e563cba418b3bbaeebc>
Alex Konrad, "How hamsters became Kia's killer salesmen." CNN Money, July 2, 2010. <http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/02/news/companies/kia_hamsters_advertising.fortune/index.htm> (November 27, 2012)
"Framestore Creates CG Rodent Rappers for Kia," <http://www.framestore.com/work/kia-soul-or> (April 30, 2014)