JDK Animates Merrell Footwear

Jager Di Paola Kemp Design has developed an animated spot starring an athletic rabbit to introduce Merrell Footwear’s new line of running shoes.

“We wanted to distinguish ourselves fromNike and Adidas. [They] haven’t done an all-animation spot,” said Leslie Dowe Twichell, a producer at JDK in Burlington, Vt. “We also wanted to keep an outdoor instinct in the spot.”

The fast-paced ad features a rabbit whose morning jog in the city becomes a marathon-style contest through the forest, racing against various animals including a raccoon, a butterfly and a herd of elk. All of the animals wear Merrell shoes, but the hare wins the competition. The spot has a darkly humorous ending when the elk fall into a ravine, which the rabbit successfully jumps. “Run wild” is the tagline.

JDK partnered with Psyop in New York to produce the 40-second spot, which will debut on U.K. movie screens in December. The ad will be supplemented by a JDK international print campaign, which will break next year. There is currently no plan for the spot to run in the U.S.

“It was bold and exciting for Merrell to go with a concept that wasn’t product driven, [but] the shoes were the heart and soul of the characters,” said Justin Booth-Clibborn, executive producer at Psyop.

JDK has worked with Merrell, a unit of Wolverine World Wide in Rockford, Mich., since 1988.