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The Polar Bears

Zook:  “Stay away from those puffins!”

Key Credits

  • Released: 2013
  • Director: John Stevenson
  • CO DIRECTOR: David Scott
  • Producers: Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Michael Costigan
  • Animal Logic Team
  • PRODUCERS: George Uppington, Ingrid Johnston, Mark Thorley
  • Editors: David Burrows, Jonathan Tappin
  • CG Supervisors: Feargal Stewart, Aidan Sarsfield
  • Art Director: Simon Whiteley
  • PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Grant Freckelton

Following Coca-Cola's hugely successful 'Polar Bowl' campaign in 2012, Animal Logic was approached by Scott Free and CAA Marketing to animate a 6-minute short to headline Coca-Cola's 2013 global campaign. Directed by John Stevenson (of Kung Fu Panda fame) and co-directed by Animal Logic's David Scott, the subtly branded film aimed to re-launch the iconic and loveable Coca-Cola Polar bears for a new generation.

The narrative presents a tale of a Polar Bear family learning that love and support for each other is more important than the misguided judgment of their peers. Despite the underlying story revolving around growing up and family, the dialogue is punctuated with sharp comedy and a spectacular troop of Hip-Hop loving Puffins!

Commencing in late 2011, the project underwent a multitude of creative changes prior to its completion in November 2012. In late 2011 the design of the bear characters underwent a complete overhaul, as a cleaner and cuter directive was chosen over the original modeling, which was seen to be too realistic and too 'canine.' Initially there was to be a singular puffin character voiced by Betty White, however further changes to the story resulted in the addition of multiple puffin characters, none of which speak. The Busby Berkeley inspired puffin dance sequence was added in after David Scott came on board as a co-director.

Animation was executed using the more "traditional" CG technique of keyframing and there was no use of motion capture or any simulated animation, with all of the characters animated by hand. Animators used reference material from the voice recording sessions along with reference of themselves or their peers acting out a scene.

Animal Logic implemented a fur system known as ALFRO, an extension of ALF (Animal Logic Foundation), a system developed in-house in which various attributes of the bear's fur are 'mapped' with textures painted by the grooming artist, to control how much clumping or scraggle we see in the fur in any given area of the bear's body. For the creation of water, Animal Logic employed Houdini, which had great turn around times as well as a high level of detail in the fluid simulations.

The film was first released through YouTube in December 2012 and its first international cinema release was in the European market, followed by a worldwide international release. A history of the polar bear family was released in a print media tie-in.  In 2013 it was nominated for an Annie Award in the catergory for Best Animated TV / Broadcast Commercial.