Scotty’s on the Run for Wrigley’s Extra

LOS ANGELES A live-action and animation spot for Wrigley’s Extra gum that premiered during NBC’s Summer Olympics coverage exemplifies an international production.

The 30-second spot, one of two starring a slice of gum named Scotty, was conceived at Omnicom’s BBDO in Toronto, produced in New Zealand (where summer conditions could be shot last February) and animated at Vinton Studios in Portland, Ore., by Mark Gustafson.

In “Triathalon,” Scotty pursues a female triathlete who tosses him aside at the starting line, then chases her on the beach, in the spokes of her bike, and during her race, crying out, “You forgot your friend with the marathon flavor.” The tagline: “The gum that never gives up.”

Gustafson said the package of two Scotty spots, which includes a golf-themed outing, was in production for 12 weeks. “The creative team was very flexible,” he said. “You plan and plan, but when you shoot your live action and best laid plans are ripped asunder—nature doesn’t always cooperate. So the agency can force it back into the original idea or recognize an opportunity to do something different, perhaps better.”

For Gustafson, who has worked on Vinton’s stop-motion animation projects for 18 years, creating Scotty in the computer “is not weird anymore. At first [the computer-animation process] was unsatisfying, but it lends you so much more flexibility.” He said his “first love” would remain stop-motion because he enjoys “being on a stage with real lights and miniatures.”

Gustafson said his running food gags, which include the panicky hot dog of Wienerschnitzel Restaurants, would stretch the “fairly limited” range of the category’s dramatic possibilities: Food that desperately wants to be eaten or doesn’t. “Mr. Wienerschnitzel is a romantic and an optimist,” said Gustafson. “He can’t imagine anything is wrong with the world, right up to the point when someone wants to eat him. Scotty really wants to be eaten and he’s anxious to prove himself.”

Campaign spending details were not available. Wrigley’s spent $11 million advertising Extra last year and $22 million through the first half of 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.