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So, you want to create a campaign around your unique, delicious food or beverage product? The competition is tough and the expectations are high. 

For generations, brands have been utilising creative and technical concepts to engage their audience and communicate their message. The number of tools available in which to develop these ideas are growing and of these, visual effects and computer graphics are becoming increasingly accessible, affordable and requisite.   

You may never have awoken to the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting hazily through your bedroom window on a Sunday morning, but you’ve probably longed for the smell and taste depicted in that very same ad.

Messaging for food and beverages presents one challenge that the commercial medium doesn't always inherently solve. Naturally, a TVC satisfies the visual and audio components. However, at face value it can lack the ability to communicate taste, texture, and aroma. These three missing senses are vital deciding factors for food and beverage consumers (pardon the pun) when it comes to choosing which products to purchase.  

But finding solutions to this problem is not at all new. Clever messaging, thoughtful acting, and beautiful photography/videography have all impacted the successful campaigns that have worked their way into our lives. You may never have awoken to the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting hazily through your bedroom window on a Sunday morning, but you’ve probably longed for the smell and taste depicted in that very same ad. 

Likewise, the super-satisfied look on an actor’s face as she tucks into a spoonful of creamy yoghurt can transport our imaginations, engulfing our senses in delightfully smooth textures. In addition to this, fantastic sound design within a campaign can further amplify textures and engage our senses-imagine the crunch of a crisp, the satisfying snap of a chocolate bar or the break of a wafer as it’s bitten into. Mmm.

In 2020, advanced technologies and softwares have gifted us new doors of creativity and ideas to unlock. These have allowed us to collaborate closely with agencies and production companies, catering to the imagination and offering clients an endless amount of propositions. 

As an industry, we are able to visualise tangible experiences of texture, taste and smell for both print and moving image deliverables with campaigns that go well beyond dancing cookies and singing raisins. 

Beer commercials often rely on CGI to curate that perfect pint.

Brands are also able to marry creative design with current pop culture trends, creating memorable campaigns for targeted audiences. 

Oreo’s engrossing Game of Thrones title sequence is a great example of this, with over 1 million views on YouTube alone.

Oreo – Oreo x Game of Thrones Title Sequence

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CG creative solutions can be as grand as german food brand Penny's Naturally For Everyone campaign, which comprises of photoreal CG elements skilfully integrated into a real-life environment. 

The result? Unique imagery and surroundings that would otherwise be impossible to create. 

On the contrary, CGI can add unrivaled aesthetics to a campaign where it is not inherently obvious…or at least not at first. Beer commercials often rely on CGI to curate that perfect pint or to get that perfect crush of a can in order to get the last delicious drop out, as per our recent work for Heineken. Whether it’s visually apparent of perfectly invisible CG, creating content in this manner allows for more control and power of how a product behaves than you have on a live set. 

Solving visual and creative problems using VFX, albeit not free, is an efficient workflow in the latter part of the process.

Another example is dealing with hot foods and liquids. Whether viscous or fully fluid, they steam. But when created in CG, even your noodles can all be tamed to do exactly what you want; leading you to a uniquely perfect result. 

Soup assuming the shape of a running athlete anyone? 

Heineken Deconstruct

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Another advantage of utilising VFX within food and drink campaigns is the practicality of it. Migrating shots from in-camera and editing them using CG softwares removes the restriction of ‘what you shot is what you got’. 

Solving visual and creative problems using VFX, albeit not free, is an efficient workflow in the latter part of the process. Localisation and versioning also becomes an easily achieved possibility. 

Now more than ever, brands need to adapt their content towards the palates of children and what better way to do that than with CG character animation?

For example, Magnum challenged us to change a white chocolate ice cream to a new almond-covered mango and currant flavour for their Russia campaign. Using CGI, we were able to create a succulent mango encased under smooth white chocolate and an undulating smooth currant cream. 

This is an appealing prospect to many clients where timely, costly in-camera solutions are not ideal.

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Above: Some CGI tastiness for Magnum.


And let’s hear it for the kids. We all know how much they can influence the contents of our shopping trolley! 

In the digital age we live in, our children are exposed to 25 million food and drink ads a year on their top 10 favourite sites alone. 

The technology behind beautifully executed campaigns is becoming more efficient and the ability to create dynamic visual effects is within reach for many more artists.

Now more than ever, brands need to adapt their content towards the palates of children and what better way to do that than with CG character animation?  

General Mills' Fruitsnakia adds a touch of humour with its fruit snack characters, whilst ITV’s genius Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign covers advertising for social good, turning ‘five a day’ into a fun challenge for children who must support their parents in ‘defeating veg’.

Veg Power – ITV/Veg Power: Eat Them To Defeat Them

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A dynamic camera pan through slow-mo macro crumbs of a just-split butter cracker is a great visual way to showcase a product’s texture. 

Cadbury’s sister brand, Lacta, showcase this perfectly in their 5Star chocolate bar campaign:a bullet-time explosion of chocolate, nougat, and caramel. Drool. 

New, affordable and ever-developing tools give artists power to create engaging content that was once only reserved for big-budget films.

The icing on the cake is that these solutions are becoming more easily accessible to creative teams every year. The technology behind beautifully executed campaigns is becoming more efficient and the ability to create dynamic visual effects is within reach for many more artists.

Mondelez – Astronaut

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New, affordable and ever-developing tools give artists power to create engaging content that was once only reserved for big budget films. 

With clear vision, great ideas can be sleekly executed to showcase not only the appearance and audio of food and beverages, but also the texture, aroma, and taste, opening creative pathways to new, unique content with real consumer appeal.  

There’s no question: the proof is in the pudding.  

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