AOL’s icon sees action in quotes

AOL’s icon sees action in quotes – Animation

NEW YORK — America Online’s latest spot places its well-known yellow icon character into a Matrix-like environment. Produced by Aero Films and posted by Charlex (, the BBDO-conceived commercial promotes the Internet service provider’s AOL 9.0 Optimized release.

Quotes was edited in two versions: a: 30 and a longer: 60 trailer. The commercial features action scenes in which AOL’s icon character speeds away on a motorcycle, hangs from a helicopter and delivers a flying kick to the bad guys, all parodying similar sequences from the popular feature film.


“For the Matrix bar scene, we recreated the room in 3D using low-resolution models, camera-mapped with the photography shot by Aero Films,” explains Charlex’s CG/VFX supervisor, Bryan Godwin. “This allowed us to create a totally smooth and fluid pan through the room that wouldn’t have been possible using the five camera angles shot in camera.” Alias Maya was used for the 3D work. Flame, Smoke, Mental Ray and Shake were also used.

BBDO, New York’s Adam Isidore was executive producer on the project. Charlex, he says, was “more than just a post production house. They were our creative partners on this job. They are creative people who are brilliant technically, not technical people who merely fulfill your requests.

“The first thing they did was send Alex Weil, their creative director, on the shoot in addition to Dave Drzewieci, their location effects supervisor. This allowed us to discuss the AOL Running Man character even before we talked about the technical aspects of lensing for him. When we got back to the edit room, we went through several drafts of rough animation until we felt that we nailed the Running Man’s action-hero persona. Then Charlex took off to find more ways to put him into the scenes we had chosen.”

Charlex’s Alex Weil was project director/executive creative director on the spot. Steve Chiarello was producer. Anthony Tabtong, Pat Porter and Derek Wong handled character animation. Discreet Flame artists on the project included Greg Oyen, Kevin Quinlan, Alan Neidorf, Burtis Scott and Philana Dias. John Zawisha was effects editor, Karl Coyner provided CG/tech direction, John O’Callaghan was designer and David Drzewieci was location effects supervisor. Cosmo Street’s Tim Squyres handled the edit. The spot began airing in mid-October.

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