I really wish I'd been a fly on the wall in this meeting.
"Hey, you guys know that painting of John Smithwick with the squirrel on his shoulder?" "I'm sorry, what painting is that?" "Well, let's see if we can get a really convincing CGI version of that little red squirrel." "I've never heard of this squirrel before, Bill." "Do you have something against squirrels brewing beer?" [long pause] "Go on."
The spot, from adam&eveDDB and Gorgeous director Simon McQuoid, has plenty to recommend it—notably, "Learnt My Lesson Well" by the Kaiser Chiefs, which plays over our rodent hero's single-handed operation of the Smithwick's brewery. If more animals could brew and tend bar, more people would be vegetarians, I feel—this little guy can start the pilot light, add the yeast and, of course, pick the right hops. Trivia: Did you know that millions of trees grow every year as a result of squirrels forgetting between fall and winter where, exactly, they put their stockpiles of nuts? It's true. Ever thus to Smithwick's, which is apparently improved by a squirrel—whose fastidiousness recalls Remy from Ratatouille—pickily selecting exactly the right Amarillo hops.
The Mill's animation on this little creature is largely wonderful, mind you, particularly when he's scampering across the vats and unlocking the safe full of Kilkenny's finest yeast. There's still sort of an uncanny valley thing that goes on, even with animals, in spots like this—he doesn't quite look real, but given that he knows all the secrets of the Smithwick's brewery, perhaps that's a good thing.
The best touch is the last one: the tiny little pint glass. Cheers, you magnificent rodent. Just don't get behind the wheel of a car later.
Agency: adam&eveDDB, London
Creative Directors: Feargal Ballance, Patrick McClelland
Creatives: Nikki Lindman, Toby Brewer
Agency Producer: Richard Chambers
Production Company: Gorgeous
Director: Simon McQuoid
Producer: Sam Levene
Director of Photography: Sebastian Milaszewski
Postproduction Company: The Mill
Executive Producer: Gemma Humphries
Visual Effects Supervisor: Hitesh Patel
3-D Lead Artist: Tom Bussell
3- Lead Animation: Jorge Montiel
3-D Lead TD: Tom Raynor
2-D Lead: Barnsley
Concept Artist: Andrew Brooks
Editing Company: Work Post
Editor: Richard Orrick