Ad of the Day: Carl’s Jr.

If machines can't eat it, machines shouldn't make it, says D&G spot

Last January for Absolut vodka, TBWA\Chiat\Day and director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) created a 30-minute short film that revolved around humanized robot themes including robot loneliness, robot love, and robot dismemberment. Now, David & Goliath is out with a new commercial for Carl's Jr. (directed by MJZ's Rocky Morton) that draws on similar motifs, sans romance but adding some slapstick into the mix. The Carl's Jr. work wasn't an intentional parody of the TBWA spot, according to Jason Karley, one of the D&G creative directors on the spot. But in designing the physical look of the Carl's Jr. robot, the team did discuss that it should steer clear stylistically of Absolut's machines (which it does). Regardless, the humor is a welcome twist on emotive renditions of artificial intelligence—even if the joke is about the schadenfreude of watching the robot mash grub against its face in a frustrated, frenzied rage. "He's got a crappy 9-to-5 job and a little apartment," says Karley. "He's just like anybody else, but he's a robot, and he can't eat food because he doesn't have a stomach and stuff." The robot is also a symbol for the evil, giant, alien machines that bread other chicken patties before they're frozen and shipped to the locations where they're served to customers. But we're compelled to note that despite being hand-breaded and looking pretty tasty, that Carl's Jr. sandwich has a disconcerting bounce to it.

Client: Carl's Jr
Agency: David&Goliath
Spot: "Robot"
CCO: David Angelo
ECD: Colin Jeffery
CDs: John Battle, Jason Karley
Associate CD/AD: Phil Covitz
Copywriter: Mark Monteiro
EP, Managing Director: Carol Lombard
EP: Christopher Coleman
Broadcast Producer: Kara Fromhart

Production Company: MJZ
Director: Rocky Morton
EP: Jeff Scruton
DP: Kris Kachikis
Producer: Donald Taylor

Editorial: Union Editorial
Editor: Jim Haygood
EP: Michael Raimondi
VP/EP: Megan Dahlman
Assistant Editor: Dylan Firshein

VFX Company: Eight VFX
VFX Supervisor: Fred Hopp
EP: Baptiste Andrieux, Shira Boardman
VFX Producer: Donna Langston
Senior Compositor: Philip Ineno
Compositors: Ryan Yoshimoto, Mathieu Caulet
Art Director: Yann Mallard
Sr CG Artist: Greg Gangemi
CG Artist: Brad Hayes
Rig & Animation Kevin Culhane
3D roto & compositing support: Mikros
VFX Coordinator: Douglas Scruton

Telecine: Company 3
Colorist: Mike Pethel

Music: South Music
CD/Composer: Jon Darling
Composer: Todd Schnitzer
Head of Production/EP: Dan Pritikin
Producer: Alex Granieri

Sound Design & Final Mix: 740 Sound Design
Executive Producer: Scott Ganary
Sound Designers: Andrew Tracy, Eddie Kim
Final Mix: Eric Ryan