Giant leaping rabbits, a wizard who drops nature bombs from the sky and a gargantuan cycling caterpillar are among the denizens of this film's fantasyland, seemingly pulled straight from the vault of Japanese animation genius Hayao Miyazaki. But they're actually the stars of a new spot from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, which happens to be set not in Japan, but in Oregon.
The new ad, "Only Slightly Exaggerated," comes from Travel Oregon and takes creative license in highlighting the natural wonders to be found in the pacific northwest state, from the flora and fauna, to its wine country and the outdoor activities on offer. Animation was created out of Psyop and Sun Creature, with direction by Psyop's Kylie Matulick and Todd Mueller.
The ad also shows off another draw of the state, the Oregon Symphony, which created the original score.
"The brief for this project was extremely open and inspiring," says Psyop's Mueller. The W&K team "was looking for something artfully magical [and] wanted to convey the beauty of Oregon with a sense of natural magic and wonder.
"One of the more challenging aspects to this piece was finding a way to bring a lot of magic into the world without any of it feeling cheesy or contrived," he says. "There is a fine line between just enough and way too much when it comes to magical fantasies. It's like cooking with lavender, or adding nitrous to your engine. Using the right amount can be incredible but use too much and it's disastrous."
The production took about five months, but Psyop was able to pull it off, along with the talents at Sun Creature. The research, naturally, entailed learning more about Oregon. "We wanted to spend a couple days exploring some of the amazing sights Oregon has to offer," he says. "So we all piled in a van and headed up to Mt. Hood and Lake Trillium. Of course we got hit by a massive snow storm. It was a total white out and the road down to the lake was closed off but even in those conditions Oregon was magical."
The campaign is running in Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Phoenix on television, in cinema, digital and out of home. Other elements include online, GIFs, short animations and more.
"We thought Oregon deserved better than just another travel ad," says W+K Art Director Nick Stokes in a statement. "So we turned to animation to try and capture its magic."