You remember the Voorthuis family, the optically obsessed owners of eyewear retailer Georgetown Optician. They were the quirky stars of agency Design Army's beautifully weird (and "true-ish") commercial last year called "Our Family Knows Glasses"—one of our favorite spots of 2015.
Well, the Voorthuis, whose style can be described as Wes Anderson meets the Addams Family, return today in a sequel from the Washington, D.C., agency. The new spot, "The Eye Ball," continues their story, and enriches it, by introducing Grandma Ida, the matriarch from whom the family's eyewear fixations evidently sprung.
Ida has invited her descendants to the titular "Eye Ball" at her Gothic mansion. But things get complicated fast when the family meets Ida's butler, the exceedingly unnerving Igor (pronounced EYE-gore, naturally). Thus ensues, according to the agency, "a wild tale involving a short-sighted optical instruments heiress, villainous butler, purloined heirlooms and a cast of 50 hunting hounds."
Check out the spot here:
While the Voorthuis world is undoubtedly indebted to some high-design source material, it has a uniqueness and charm all its own. It's so fully realized, with the art direction, pacing, writing and brilliant visual details combining for an enjoyable, off-kilter viewing experience.
After the success of the earlier spot, which was recognized across the industry, it's no wonder Design Army went back to these characters.
"The 'Our Family Knows Glasses' brand campaign was a great success and generated a lot of buzz and traffic for Georgetown Optician, so we decided that it was worth extending for another season. But how to make it better was the challenge," Design Army chief creative officer Pum Lefebure tells AdFreak.
"The new film takes a deeper look at family 'issues' and delves into the family's eyewear obsession from their matriarch, Grandma Ida, who is more kooky than the rest of the family when it comes to fashionable frames. Of course, every great film needs a deeper subplot, so we introduced an outsider, Igor the butler, who has a very interesting relationship with Grandma Ida and stirs concerns amongst the family."
The details are what really take the piece to the next level, Lefebure adds.
"We carefully crafted every scene to make it even more bizarre than the first [spot]," she says. "For example: Grandma Ida's only source of food are carrots; the cucumber lenses on her glasses when she is taking a bubble bath—with bubbles blown from her butler; Irene's sleeping mask—eyes closed and open; Ivan's horse jumping over a giant topiary of frames; Iris' insanely wonky doghouse that has a collection of objects from the first film. You might not notice all these details at first, but when you watch it again and again—which I hope you do—you start to discover the hidden gems. Design is not in the details. Design is the details."
Not coincidentally, the spot also shows a ton of product.
The spot is "the perfect combination of great copywriting, beautiful art direction and unexplainable weird visuals—all while showcasing 60-plus glasses," says Lefebure. "It's product placement on steroids!"
Check out the print work below.
Agency: Design Army
Chief Creative Officer & Creative Director: Pum Lefebure
CEO: Jake Lefebure
Senior Designer: Lillian Ling
Social Media: Alice Hough
Behind the Scenes Photographer: Diego Jimenez
Production Coordinator: Olivia Prinzi
Production Hand: Ryan Haskins
Copywriter: Mark Welsh
Director & Cinematographer: Dean Alexander
Editor: David Grossbach
Color Grading: CVLT NYC
1st Assistant Camera, MOVI Operator, Drone Pilot: Johnny Meyer
2nd Assistant Camera, Digi-Tech: John Vallon
Behind the Scenes & Social Editor: Daniel St. Ours
Gaffer: Theodore Ayd
Key Grip: Mike Piekutowski
Best Boy Grip: Elliot Snell
Best Boy Electric: Jason Hubert
Hair & Makeup: Dale Johnson
Hair & Makeup Assistant: Brandon Russell
Jewelry & Accessories: Julie Wolfe
Wardrobe Stylist: Michelle Onofrio
Wardrobe Stylist Assistant: Gemma Slack
Ivan: Larry Campbell
Irene: Hallie Hutchinson
Issac: David James
Grandma Ida: Carole Mancini
The Butler / Igor: Pat Iles
Iris: Troy the Beagle
Voice Over Talent: Donnie
Food Styling: Sidra Forman
Prop Designers: SETCO, Design Army, Dean Alexander Productions
Loudon Fairfax Hunt Club
Taylor Royall, Inc.
T.H.E. Artist Agency
The Voorthuis Family
The Fans. The Brands. Social Good. The Future of Sports. Don't miss the upcoming Brandweek Sports Marketing Summit and Upfronts, a live virtual experience on Nov. 16-19. Early-bird passes available until Oct. 26. Register now.