M&M's M'azing "Mystic Pixie"

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The Guess

Allen and Davis: Two plates were shot. In one her body remains still. In the other her body moves around wildly. They combined the two plates, using her stationary head from one and her wild body from the other, erasing the unused portions of her body.

Humble: This is really well done. The only thing that hinted it was an effect, other than humans can't move like that, is there is a pool of light behind the girl when her legs are spinning around her body that never changes even when her legs pass through it. I think they shot multiple passes of this girl doing different moves and did morphs in between the moves.

truth is stranger than f/x

Smuggler directing team Happy (aka Guy Shelmerdine and Richard Farmer) has, in the past, been known for pulling off some stomach-turning spots for various advertisers-Wrigley's "Dog Breath," Virgin Mobile's placenta boy. So it didn't come as much of a surprise to find out that they were behind another creepy feat for BBDO/N.Y. on M&M's M'azing "Mystic Pixie," featuring a super limber girl whose legs sprint around her body 180 degrees while her chest remains pinned to the ground. While no doubt this was Happy's handiwork, no lie, they pulled it off sans the assistance of any effects cohorts. The girl in the spot is the real in-camera deal, says Farmer. "The goal was to find truly amazing people, people that would blow our minds with raw talent," he adds. So the meat of the project was in the casting, a brief but intense cross-country twisted talent search. "We threw a pretty wide net from San Fran to Atlanta, hitting all the major cities and some of the smaller interesting ones like New Orleans," says Shelmerdine. "We collaborated with the agency beforehand and our producer Jeff Miller, who implemented the most impressive strategy to go after the unknown in a pretty short amount of time. It was like a war room at Smuggler. The phone would ring and Jeff would yell, 'We have a guy that can kick his head in Shreveport!' A lot of interesting folks came in from us putting ads in local newspapers and radio stations to get to the smaller areas. Of course Craig's List was a handy new avenue too. Thank you Craig!" It also helped that Happy deployed some roving P.A.s to sort through the chaff. "We sent a couple of teams out that 'got it' so to speak," says Farmer. "There were so many people who would show up and do the same thing another fellow did in another town, and it was necessary to weed out the less amazing talents like 'holding breath.'"

You can only imagine what the scavenger hunt ultimately yielded. "The ones involving animals were really interesting," Farmer recalls. "You'd be surprised at some of the more inventive things there are out in the Appalachians and the South," adds Shelmerdine. "We ended up with a range that defined what 'M'azing' could be interpreted as. It's one thing to go total freak show. Credit the agency for maintaining their vision for the brand. A major part of the process was orchestrating which talents to put forth in the campaign so you have a variety of skills all meant to represent 'M'azing.' The agency had a smart direction as to what that should be." One other spot included a pair of Asian acrobats who have their way with a bottomless trash can. As for the pixie, she was a genuine double-jointed human pretzel from the Flagstaff, Arizona area. "When we saw her we couldn't eat our lunch anymore, or our dinner," says Shelmerdine. "We still have a hard time describing what she was doing." But they speak loads for the miracles you still can achieve in camera.