The design studio
teams with SpotCo to produce a hand-drawn film for Sting’s new Broadway show.

SANTA MONICA, California—The Last Ship, a Broadway-bound musical from Sting, receives an
elegant launch via a beautiful, hand-crafted commercial
from design studio Bl:nd and entertainment marketing agency SpotCo. The ad
tells a story, inspired by the show’s script, of fathers, sons and a red ship,
through a series of impressionistic illustrations hand painted by Bl:nd’s
creative team. The Last Ship makes
its world premiere in Chicago this summer, followed by a Broadway run in the
fall.

SpotCo creative director Darren Cox says that the agency was
looking for a novel way to introduce audiences to Sting’s musical, a tale of a
young man growing up in a small coastal community in England. “It’s a hard show
to market because the story is not well known and an English shipbuilding town
is not what you expect from a Broadway musical,” Cox explains. “its strength is
Sting’s music and it occurred to us that animation would be an effective tool
to give a visual landscape to the show’s sonic landscape. We wanted to find a
poetic, metaphorical and lyrical way to tell the story.”

SpotCo presented Bl:nd with the show’s logo, which features
a red ship riding the crest of a circular wave, and an open brief. “The logo is
beautiful, but ambiguous,” says SpotCo art director Craig Shaloiko. “It’s meant
to be subjective; viewers interpret it in their own way. We wanted to apply
that same process to the production of the spot. We asked Bl:nd to apply their
interpretation to the artwork. They took it and ran with it.”
Bl:nd creative director Greg Gunn, art director Tuna Bora
and designer Julia Wright began by reading the show’s script and from there
they developed a simple story involving several generations of fathers and
sons, with the red ship from the logo as a connecting motif. They then began
exploring ways of bringing the story to life. “We started sketching and before
we knew it, we had a bottle of ink and were painting,” Gunn recalls. “It was a
lot of fun and a rare opportunity to turn the computer off and get your hands
dirty.”
Gunn and his team produced a series of illustrations
representing key moments in the story. They then developed novel ways of
animating the drawings and transitioning between them. Artists applied
sweeping, textual brush strokes to paper and photographed them on a stage.
Those textures, along with scans of the illustrations, were brought into a
computer environment and manipulated so that one scene appears to melt into the
next. Gunn describes the effect like “wind blowing the viewer into the next
scene.”
Cox says that the finished spot captures the emotional core
of the musical in a way that a more literal approach could not. “The story
centers on people who take on the task of building a ship with their bare
hands,” he says. “The commercial, too, is crafted by hand. It’s not a not a
digital creation. It’s a painting.”
Credits
Agency: SpotCo. Stacey Lieberman Prince,
Darren Cox, creatives; Tom Coppola, producer.
Production:  Bl:nd. Greg Gunn, Creative Director;
Tobin Kirk, Executive Producer; Amy Knerl, Head of Production, Bridget Carroll,
Post Producer; Tuna Bora, Art Director; Julia Wright, Designer; Dylan Spears,
Jamal Otolorin and Daniel Zhang, 2D Animators.
Music:  Sting
Tools:  Photoshop, After Effects
About Bl:nd
Since 1995, Blind™ has produced projects from conception to
reality with award-winning design that engenders surprise and far exceeds
client expectations. Cutting-edge campaigns for brands such as Xbox, Audi,
Showtime, Sony, DirecTV, OppenheimerFunds, McDonald’s, Scion, and recording
artists including Gnarls Barkley, The Raveonettes, Cinematic Orchestra and
Justin Timberlake have made Blind the go-to company for award winning creative.
We are open, collaborative and use our collective experience, design and
technical knowledge to create meaningful and compelling content for all
mediums. Our goal is to continue to be the company that clients rely on to
deliver creative excellence and service so outstanding in its responsiveness
that they become enthusiastic fans.
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