Stick Figures Tout

NEW YORK offers “fast and free delivery” for orders over $25, got that? Do I have to draw you a picture?

No need, because Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners West has done just that for two spots for the online arm of the bookstore chain. In “Alien,” a UFO descends on a stick figure typing and drops some books in his lap. In “Cannon,” a cannon appears and shoots packages onto a stick figure’s desk. Copy reads: “Fast and free delivery. Three days or less on orders of $25 or more.” The spots broke earlier this month nationwide.

“We were working within certain budgetary restraints to accomplish TV spots that we otherwise couldn’t make,” said associate creative director and art director Rickie Daghlian about on the stick-figure approach. (The budget was undisclosed, but New York-based Barnes & Noble spend about $500,000 advertising in 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.) “The idea came from staying simple and remembering days we were all in grammar school making stick-drawing animations on the corners of our books. The spot still stays fun and gets the idea about quick delivery across.”

KB+P selected Chelsea Pictures and director Simon Blake to help it create the spots, which took about a month to produce. Rather than do all the animation on a computer, they created actual flipbooks and filmed them.

“We wanted to emulate a real flip book as much as possible, Daghlian said. “If we went with a more tech-y version, it wouldn’t feel as organic.” Then they erased the pages flipping in post-production, to create the final animation.

Other KB+P staffers involved included executive creative director Noel Cottrell and copywriter Chas McFeely.