Bigshot Toyworks Gets Political with Fast Company
As the world economy becomes increasingly digital, the masters of the digital world become increasingly powerful. Power and politics are inherently connected so as time goes on Washington has turned its gaze to Silicon Valley to help them achieve each others’ aims, whether they’re for the body politic or merely to help electability. Recently, Fast Company Magazine explained this connection and brought on Bigshot Toyworks to help imagine it visually. “As a character development studio we get to work on all sorts of fun and quirky design projects,” says Klim Kozinevich of Bigshot Toyworks. There has always been a push and pull between technology and our political process, whether it’s the way that NSA manipulates data collection to spy on those home and abroad, or Congress’ look at internet freedom and usage through copyright laws. Klim didn’t have to convince readers of the relationship, it’s already a deep part of the American experience. Instead, he had to make it fun.
Bigshot and Fast Company decided to start with examining how new businesses court politicians for their early corporate lives. Klim describes it as: “the challenges Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and hi-tech start-ups face when dealing with the unfamiliar and often challenging world of Washington politics.” In the resulting images, Bigshot has techies represented as characters from the runaway smash hit game Minecraft, while the politicians represent their parties as donkeys, elephants, and even sharks.
Bigshot created a series of images including a massive spread, culminating in a huge party scene showing the intricacies of different relationships. Some politicians and techies dance with each other, others are chased by one another, some lobby for different pairings, and others look on, isolated and rejected from the fun. “The result was a multiple page spread featuring some fun, iconic character designs of the ‘Tech Dudes,’ Politicians, and Lobbyists in various scenarios,” says Klim. “We had a great time working with the Fast Co creative team and look forward to seeing more of our work in their awesome publication.” As we find outselves locked in another fight over the future of our digital freedoms and political process, it's crucial to remember that these pieces are linked, and keep an eye on our collective future.
Bigshot Toyworks Takes on Uncle Sam with Ron English and Kidrobot
We're about to finish the first episode of the American electoral process for electing a president in 2016. Pomp and circumstances are the flash points now while tone is dissected more closely than policy as we weed out who won't be able to hold our attention for the next year of campaigning. With such a long process to come, the heavy hitters are just starting to warm up, and the serious issues have hardly begun to peek out of the sand. Art has always been a way for underserved voices to be heard in democracies and there's no reason this cycle should be any different. Bigshot Toyworks' latest project is a collaboration with Ron English and Kidrobot that directly engages the American political process. "Uncle Skam" examines and exposes the weaknesses of our particular form of representative government and comes with a challenge to do it better.
Bigshot first worked with Ron English 10 years ago, and has revisited this working relationship since then. Klim Kozinevich of Bigshot Toyworks explains that because of their different working processes, there’s a lot of room to create something together. Ron’s big ideas, in this case an Uncle Sam obese off the backs of the taxpayers, pair with the details that Klim fills in. “The nice thing about working with Kidrobot and Ron is that it’s very collaborative,” says Klim. “There were opportunities for suggestions that weren’t in the original drawings like the hamburger filled with money and that hat’s removable so you can see a really funky, awesome comb over. Ron had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted to do and the rest was up to us to turn his ideas into a 3D object.“ It’s these small details that end up rounding out the whole thematic experience and make the toys into precious works of art that find a home in the most exclusive collections.
Bigshot Toyworks is no stranger to taking on political issues, and subverting popular iconography to make a point. Whether it’s Tony the Tiger aghast at the contents of contemporary cereals or a My Little Pony distracted from its own expiring media (and many more), Bigshot likes to play with these ideas. As a result, working with Ron on this project was a no brainer. “A lot of Ron’s messaging is really on point,” says Klim. “He just kind of pokes fun and peels off the layers of the stinky onion. He communicates his messages through cartoony imagery so it makes you kind of look at it a different way. It’s always great fun to work with Frank Kozik, the Creative Director of Kidrobot, and his team, and Ron of course. He’s always a blast.”
The release date for "Uncle Skam" is still under wraps but it's coming up fast. Stay tuned.
Bigshot Toyworks Opens the World of Sports
The world of sports is diverse and wide, with a game for every player. Passion drives competition everywhere and each different contest inspires fans from all walks of life. Whether it’s the coasts’ obsession with golf, the south’s love of NASCAR, or basketball arresting the focus of the whole nation, sport engenders a shared zeal, something that both AT&T and Bigshot Toyworks understand. To build excitement around AT&T U-verse, a service that allows viewers access to all sorts of games, Bigshot Toyworks teamed up with AT&T to create a microsite that allows fans to interact with their own passions.
The U-verse Bobblehead Shop lets users create and share their own virtual bobbleheads, centered on their favorite sports. “They wanted to have a customizable way for people to pick a sport and customize a player to their liking,” says Klim Kozinevich of Bigshot Toyworks. “We wanted it to be something that was fun, that had some personality, and a unique flavor to it.” By going through the process you can customize gender, sport, skin, hair, and uniform colors, as well as picking one of a handful of inspirational lines for the setting. Then, once all is chosen, the final design can be used across social media; you are your own bobbehead online.
Klim and Bigshot Toyworks have made bobbleheads before, sometimes even creating tactile versions of them. But when it comes to designing an illustrated version, Klim approaches it exactly the same way as he does for a physical object. “There really isn’t much of a difference between doing a real toy and doing a digital,” he explains. The challenge came in the customizability of the toys. Each shift of the toy, from skin color to uniform options, is a whole new variable that has to be dealt with. “It’s a simple action for the user but it’s a pretty complicated process on both our end and the programming end where they have to make every single possible combination, isolated and rendered,” says Klim about the customizability.
Bigshot has become known for using characters to tell these immersive stories, translating emotional stories using figures (both tactile and CGI). But from one project to the next, Bigshot disappears into the work. Klim is very careful to bring attention to that fact. There is no Bigshot Toyworks “house style,” instead they create what the project needs. “Our whole thing is we don’t do a specific thing that people come to us for,” explains Klim. “We solve creative problems within a character-based project. We let the project define the style.”
Check out AT&T U-verse's Bobblehead Shop and make your own!
Bigshot Toyworks' Icons Confront Serious Issues
Subversion is an art form. Taking popular images and finding something new to say about them requires a delicate balance between respecting the original message and finding the kernel of new truth. This is a balance that Bigshot Toyworks understands completely. They’re masters at the form of reinterpretation, having worked on some of the most recognizable characters in pop culture. “It’s always fun to play with those characters, whether it’s for the actual company to reimagine what the character looks like with a bit of a twist, like we’ve done with the Quik Rabbit, My Little Pony, My Pet Monster, developing them for an updated look,” says Klim Kozinevich from Bigshot Toyworks. “It’s always fun to play with that and we always try to have a sense of humor about it and not be gross and disrespectful to the brand.” At the end of the day, they want to maintain the integrity of these characters, borrowing them to make a statement, without changing their souls.
For the latest cover of Bloomberg Business magazine, Bigshot Toyworks got to try their hand at Tony the Tiger. Kellogg’s Cereals has seen a dip in sales lately, and Bloomberg’s reporting found a trend between that dip in sales and consumer confidence in the brand. When buyers are more sensitive to particular ingredients (like GMO corn, high added sugars, and dietary preferences) they’ll avoid the products that haven’t adapted to the lifestyle changes they’re making. It’s time for Kellogg’s to catch up to consumer demands.
The image Bigshot worked on went through a series of revisions to strike the right tone. They started with more aggressive imagery, finally arriving at an image of Tony the Tiger regarding a bowl of cereal: radioactive in its unappealing existence. It walks the line of framing a major issue without striking a death knell. It’s a gut check, but not a final blow. Tony sees the problem, now it’s time to adjust. Bloomberg was kind enough to show how this revision process proceeded, and we’ve included their visual representation of the development.
For the cover of AdWeek, Bigshot got to subvert a whole other set of characters. Like Kellogg’s need to bridge their consumer gap, Hasbro’s My Little Pony empire is in the process of recalibrating to market pressures. Where Kellogg’s is dealing with content, Hasbro has to change delivery. Their current readjustments follow the passions and interests of their fans, which are constantly changing in the evolving market. As kids move away from the television and towards more mobile media, Hasbro’s more conventional media investments are not finding the success they need. So it’s time to change. Klim explains the illustration of these issues in their composition saying, “It’s a My Little Pony character absorbed in all different devices while not paying attention to the TV behind her.” Hasbro’s television network is facing the most serious trouble, and they have to follow their own successes to ensure their brand’s future.
Will You Be Able to Take Progressive's Flo Home?
We all know Flo, Progressive Insurance’s spunky saleswoman who just really wants to help out. Her excited sincerity is infectious and charming, inspiring legions of fans and a lot of attention for Progressive.
The insurance company was looking for a new way to present their beloved mascot to those fans, so they contracted Bigshot Toyworks to create a series of Flo action figures. “What we were trying to do is play up some of her key features which are her signature hairdo, big smile, and highly expressive eyes,” explains Klim Kozinevich of Bigshot Toyworks. They wanted to, “Use the essence of her character.” Fitting her into an expanding roster of careers, the folks at Bigshot and Progressive ventured to show off her range of potential abilities, from Trucker, to Plumber, to Baker. She comes outfitted in her signature Progressive apron, and a ton of accessories for each job. The series is ongoing, so who knows how many jobs Flo has left to do? Either way, she’s getting down and dirty.
“We were just having fun generating these concepts, and visualizing them,” says Klim about the collaborative relationship with Arnold Worldwide, who manages Progressive’s advertising. “It’s just been a joy working on this project with them.” A lot of times when creative companies work with large brands like Progressive, the amount of clearances and rules can hinder the creative process. Not so with this project. Bigshot and Arnold stayed in constant communication to flow as creatively as possible. The results show what happens when you stay dynamic and flexible in a creative relationship.
If you can believe it, what you see aren’t actual toys. They’re CGI composites. “The original intent of this wasn’t to make a toy, it was just to make a series of print ads,” says Klim. “But because of how our process works, action figures are possible.” Does that mean this is going to turn into an action figure? Plenty of people are asking for them, but we can’t know for sure. For now, we have to satisfy ourselves admiring the detail and variation that Bigshot Toyworks and Progressive brought to the range.
AdoptUSKids Ads Showcase Bigshot Toyworks' CG Trophies
Bigshot Toyworks created a set of lively, computer-generated statues for AdoptUSKids' "You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Be a Perfect Parent" campaign. "Partnering with Klim [Kozinevich, the creative lead at Bigshot] was an awesome experience," said kbs+ copywriter Ben Cascella and art director Nigel Gross. "He created these incredibly realistic trophies and gave them a level of humor and character that completely blew us away – and he was extremely easy to work with."
Klim and the Bigshot team received a straightforward brief that included a list of poses for the imperfect-perfect parents, like a father recoiling from a blazing barbecue and a couple holding a huge map (and looking in different directions). "Our first steps were to mock up the basic human forms for each in ZBrush," he explained. "We showed a few previews to the clients, they made some notes, and then we did a second pass. Once the poses were approved, we finalized the details, developed the bases, and rendered them in VRay to become gold trophies." He continued: "It was a challenge to maintain the figures' expressions while using a single, reflective color. We used a lot of VRay and Photoshop tricks."
Bigshot Toyworks also took into account the ads' lighting. "We all worked together on figuring out where the light source would come from, so we were able to submit the trophies with the correct shadow information, and they could be dropped into the photos with minimal retouching," Klim noted. "To see it entirely composited was amazing; when you work on isolated assets, you only see a fraction of the picture ... the whole thing really came together and it was surprisingly nice."
Cats vs. Birds vs. Bigshot Toyworks
Must cats die so birds can live? That's the question raised in an investigative article featured in New York Magazine. Creative studio Bigshot Toyworks illustrated this six-page story that evaluates the problem and potential solutions regarding the exponentially increasing feral cat population. Regardless of whether you side with the cats or side the with birds, one thing is for certain - Bigshot Toyworks' illustrations of both creatures are ridiculously cute.
BIGSHOT TOYWORKS TAKES ON GOOGLE
Bigshot Toyworks teams up again with Fast Company to illustrate an article detailing Google’s supremacy over all other platforms and browsers. In the tech race against Amazon, Apple and Facebook, House Google takes all.
Bigshot Toyworks draws on Fast Company columnist Farhad Manjoo’s writing and his Game of Thrones reference to create a one-of-a-kind CGI character illustration of the Google icon sitting on the iron throne. It’s clear from Bigshot Toyworks’ illustrations that Google does indeed reign supreme.
Bigshot Toyworks & Fast Company Explain Holiday Marketing
Bigshot Toyworks creates these undeniably cute and creative CGI illustrations for a recent article in Fast Company. "Five Keys Needed To Successfully Market A Holiday" appears in the May 2013 issue of the magazine and talks about how marketers can effectively push less universal holidays like Cinco de Mayo.
B&A Artists Get Innovative for Fast Company
A monumental article calls for monumental talent, which is why Fast Company asked three Bernstein & Andriulli artists to help illustrate their annual piece "50 Most Innovative Companies of 2013."
Serial Cut created the leading image "50" from a poly material and photographed it for the story. To demonstrate how the intricate piece was made, Serial cut made a two minute video that takes us through the process. Rod Hunt illustrated the sixth most innovative company UBER, the mobile app that connects riders with luxury vehicles for hire. Rod created a detailed board game to visualize UBER CEO Travis Kalanick's obstacle ridden journey and battles with city transit authorities as the company expands. Finally Bigshot Toyworks throws some magic on the collaborative software platforms Github and Parse with nerdy wizards. Tetris blocks were used to hint at control over multiple puzzle pieces as the companies have become crucial middlemen for developers all over the world.
Bigshot Toyworks Gets Cheeky with the Cannes Lion
Each year, DDB sponsors the Cannes Lions Film Reel Screening in Edmonton, Canada. The event is an opportunity for the agency to socialize with clients and watch the year's best TV commercials.
To promote the event, Bigshot Toyworks was tapped to create a cheeky representation of the Cannes lion. What resulted was an inflatable lion drawing off the suggestive event tagline, "commercials that turn you on." The blow-up feline's image was also used for film-sized posters and sent as invitations to clients. Finally, DDB set up a life-sized cardboard cutout of the lion at the event for staff and friends to pose with.
Creative Sustainability With Bigshot Toyworks"Think of the golden rule (hmmm...) If you were a pig, how would you want to be treated? Humanely. With respect and dignity. With room to run and express your natural piggy instincts."
This is just one of the thoughtful tidbits you can find nested inside the Farmer, a character produced by Bigshot Toyworks for Chipotle's Cultivate Foundation. The creative shop was hired by Chipotle to manufacture a collectible toy based on the characters from Back to the Start, a short animated film promoted as part of the company's food sustainability and educational outreach program. The viral success of the film, which garnered over 6.7 million views, is what sparked the initiative to bring its farmer character to life.
To create the farmer, Bigshot Toyworks stuck by Chipotle's sustainability ethos and ditched the plastic in favor of using eco-friendly wood. Attention to detail was paid down to the packaging, which was sourced from recycled cardboard. The innovation doesn't end there though. Within the exterior made from recycled material, the farmer held a pig in his round belly; a character within a character created to illustrate how the pork on consumers' plates was once a pig on a farm. Inside the pig were two antibiotics pill capsules that when opened, revealed the thoughtful tidbits about humane farming and the importance of following "your natural piggy instincts."
Bigshot Toyworks Makeover the Twinkie for Fortune
Bigshot Toyworks re-imagine the iconic Hostess mascot Twinkie the Kid for Fortune Magazine. The updated, depressed imagining is for the cover story "Hostess is Bankrupt...Again." The lunchbox snacks company is in bankruptcy court for the second time in a decade, caught in a fight between labor and hedge funds, with no one able to agree on how to restructure.
Bigshot Toyworks had a great time working on the project. It gave them the chance to work with an iconic brand mascot and to illustrate the current environment in the food industry. Klim Kozinevich of BigShot Toyworks says, "since 'Twinkie the Kid' is such an iconic character in American advertising, we wanted to be respectful of his history and not make him appear injured or overly abused. After a few rounds of designs, I feel we managed to really capture the point of this article."
The latest issue of Fortune Magazine is on newsstands now.
See more of Bigshot Toyworks' illustrations here.
Bigshot Toyworks Kills the Twitter Bird for BloombergBigshot Toyworks' suicidal interpretation of the iconic Twitter board covers the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek. The magazine's cover story explores how the five-year old web startup survived internal turmoil, power outages, and an embarrassing security breach to finally become a successful, viable business.
Richard Turley, the Creative Director at Bloomberg, approached Bigshot Toyworks to create the hilarious illustrations. It was a project the design firm could not pass up and after several fun brainstorming sessions with Turley, they came up with a series of eight illustrations. The Twitter bird is depicted trying to kill itself by hanging, poisoning, drowning, and more methods. Klim Kozinevich of Bigshot Toyworks says of the project, "I can't say enough about how much we love our work and the great fun it is to collaborate with such clever and creative people."
Bloomberg Businessweek is on newsstands now.
See more of Bigshot Toyworks illustrations here.
Publication: Bloomberg Businessweek
Story: "Twitter, The Startup That Wouldn't Die"
Creative Director: Richard Turley
Illustrations: Bigshot Toyworks
Bigshot Toyworks Creates Good News Gil for LGLG's "Life's Good" is a global marketing campaign to promote LG products through good news. The lynchpin of the campaign is "Gil" the fuzzy and happy LG Good News Ambassador currently living on a 47ft tall wrap-around HD billboard in Times Square. Bigshot Toyworks created the character design for Gil in partnership with Young & Rubicam and North Kingdom. The campaign incorporates a mix of good news from RSS feeds and text or tweet messages sent by passersby. Gil's behavior changes as he responds and reacts to the messages broadcast on the billboard.
Bigshot Toyworks was brought on to develop an emotive character. Despite They were able to deliver the design in just a few short weeks. Much of Bigshot Toyworks' character designs are small and subtle. They welcomed the opportunity to create something as enormous as Gil.
See Bigshot Toyworks' portfolio here.
Character Design: Bigshot Toyworks
3D Design & Technical Development: North Kingdom
Agency: Young & Rubicam New York
Images courtesy of North Kingdom
Rizon Parein Creates a 3D Scene for YAHOO!YAHOO!'s Bus Stop Derby is a two month, city-wide challenge that turns bus stops in San Francisco into social-gaming hubs. Stops in 20 San Francisco neighborhoods are outfitted with 72-inch touch screens that include 4 games that can be played while waiting for the bus. Users are playing for personal glory as well as neighborhood bragging rights in the live head-to-head games. To promote the derby, Yahoo! Client and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners commissioned Rizon Parein to create a 3D art piece.
Rizon created the 3D scene featuring the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, and buses and people racing towards the derby cup. Bigshot Toyworks was brought in to model and create the characters after the decision was made to work with CGI human characters and not icons.
The YAHOO! Bus Stop Derby ends on January 28th, 2011. The grand prize is an Ok Go concert in the winning neighborhood. Find out more about the derby here.
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
3D Illustration: Rizon Parein
CGI Characters: Bigshot Toyworks
Bigshot Toyworks Brings Ape Face to Life for Sun Bum
Bigshot Toyworks helps Sun Bum bring their love-able ape face logo to life with 16" tall vinyl figures (shown above) and 2.5" keychain figures. The vinyl toys and keychains are used as promos in-store and as takeaways during tradeshows. Sun Bum is a line of specially formulated sunscreens that protect the skin from UV rays.
Bigshot Toyworks transformed the existing icon without losing the essence of the original image. The translation from 2D image to 3D figure has bode well for Sun Bum, retailers reported quick sales of their display figures as well as immediate reorders for more figures.
The original Sun Bum logo
The digital sculpture by Bigshot Toyworks, to be broken down for production
The final Sun Bum vinyl figure and keychains in production
The 2.5" keychain versions features a closed finger/thumb sculpt on the hand that allows for a ball-chain to be threaded through. This allows for the sturdy attachment of the keychain while avoiding additional pieces or carved holes that would detract from the integrity of the character.
Sun Bum Retail display
Bigshot Toyworks at Bernstein & Andriulli
Bigshot Toyworks on Behance>
Salty's TV Debut
Ad agency DDB Canada along with production company Sons and Daughters created a TV commercial for Knorr Sidekicks featuring "Salty," an original Bigshot Toyworks design. Salty is the brainchild of Klim Kozinevich and Scott Wetterschneider of Bigshot Toyworks, a creative studio specializing in the design and production of unique collectible toys and art objects.
Click here to read more about Salty's adventures in Communication Arts.