DALLAS A recently launched Richards Group TV spot for Chick-fil-A's grilled chicken sandwich sends the restaurant's cow mascot through an animation studio en route to a splashdown in a backyard swimming pool.
The commercial, titled "Belly Flop," shows a cow jumping off a diving board, splashing people at a pool party and extinguishing a barbecue where hamburgers are grilling.
To make the illusion convincing, the Dallas agency hired computer graphics specialists at Creocollective, the company that animated scenes in Harry Potter 3, Spider-Man and a number of other feature films. The graphics artists used hundreds of images of real cows to create a computer-animated, or CGI, cow while the real-life footage of the food and clubhouse scenes were shot.
Director Bruce Dowad of Bruce Dowad Associates, Hollywood, positioned a life-size plastic cow on the diving board as a reference for the special effects artists. To simulate the splash of a half-ton heifer, Dowad used a crane to drop a barrel, weighted to match the mass of the cow, from a height of 30 feet. Following the splashdown, another cow is shown standing poolside wearing a "Grill mor chikin" sign.
The spot, which began airing last month, took nearly three months to produce. Richards developed the cow mascots that have appeared on billboards around the country nearly 10 years ago.
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has more than 1,135 restaurants in 37 states and Washington, D.C. The chain is expanding this year in Phoenix and Southern California.