2001 We rolled into the new millenium in style, traveling to Korea with our animatronic Dung Beetle for Mirae Asset Insurance complete with his very own mechanical rolling dungball. Following that, we've kept fairly busy- creating an animatronic Grizzly Bear and Porcupine for Budweiser, a giant Statue of Liberty head for emc2.com and a Shattering Tire effect for Reebok. Squirrels seem to be popular this year - so far we've done two, the wild and raunchy 'Conker' Squirrel for Nintendo and a double taking, nut dropping Squirrel for a Golf Association spot.
Echoing last year's problems, just the threat of possible Writers and Actors strikes has had some far reaching consequences this year. Though both were averted, they still had adverse effects on most movie, commercial and television productions. Movie production budgets for the year were spent finishing product ahead of the possible strikes, leaving the rest of this year's movie production pretty quiet. The potential threat to television left this year's fall production schedules uncertain - and with the uncertainty of new shows, many advertisers postponed production of any new commercials as well. Hopefully those involved on both sides will keep this in mind and future contract negotiations can be resolved in ways that will avert disrupting the whole community over potential strikes.
Some brave advertisers have chosen to forge ahead with new campaigns - The ESPN Answers campaign had us staging the birth this year of Baby Answers. We created a Chicken puppet for Gold'n Plump, two mechanical Lettuce and Tomato puppet rivals over the affections of Marie's Salad Dressing and an animatronic Alien Family to demonstrate the far reaching appeal of Sweet n' Low. We created two White Rhinos for Toyota; one, a scale model, animatronic Running Rhino, and the other, a full-sized, animatronic walkaround Rhino Suit.
We also created costumes for a Chair Man character to be featured in a whole new American Airlines ad campaign. Many spots for this campaign were already completed and we were due on set to continue shooting on exactly the day of September 11. That day's horrible tragedy resulted in the entire campaign being shelved. Our condolences are with the victims and American Airlines.
Since then, we've created Crash Test Dummies - two walkaround suits and two puppets - for Subaru, two Deer, a buck and a doe, for Jeep and a special designer Hammer for Nike.