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Increase in Commercial Television Puppetry

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by D'Snowth, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Has anyone besides me noticed the increase in television puppetry used in commercials as of late?

    Previously, they had been few and far between, like the Barnone dog, the Fandango bag puppets, and even the Hungry monster from Weight Watchers... but now, puppets are popping up more and more in commercials - Carfax now has a fox puppet as their mascot, as well as Bathfitters, or some company like that uses a purple monster, similar to Cheeky on YouTube in a mascot role as well. Plus, the Snuggle Bear had been CG for the past few years, and now he's a puppet again.

    Nice to know that this is happening, because quite frankly, it almost seemed as if television puppetry, in general, had been in a bit of a lull, mostly because of lack of Muppets since the Disney purchase.
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Wasn't the Car Fax Fox thing like a joke in an earlier commercial.

    I swear, since they put that fox puppet in the ads, they've become something better than the lackluster Office clones their commercials were.

    And :LOVING how Snugg's a puppet again. The CGI didn't give it the plush toy feel that's the whole point of the product mascot.
  3. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I don't have statistics, but I don't think there has really been a significant increase. What has changed (I think anyway) is that thanks to the internet and YouTube you end up seeing a lot more commercials with puppets than you used to.

    Not that I'd be complaining if there actually has been an increase...
  4. TheCreatureWork

    TheCreatureWork Active Member

    I personally think that Puppetry is the cheaper option compared to computer animated versions of characters. During these economic times the big companies are going back to what is cheaper.
  5. dmoss

    dmoss Member

    Even still, the Vlassic Pickle Stork is now CGI, rather than 2D animation...for some reason or another. :o
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Not always....

    It depends on to what extent you use the CGI. If it's a big expensive company that does Pixar or Dreamwords quality stuff, it may run a small fortune. But a LOT of commercials use CGIs as a cheaper alternative. it all depends on how much the puppet costs, what kind of mechanisms it has, and how big the thing is. The Pets.com sock wasn't all that expensive looking... but take a large animatronic and that could run you a LOT more than a CGI version of something.

    And BOTh a CGI and puppet can be reused. Let's not forget that. So both ways have that economical thing going for it. Full on traditional or digital 2-D hand drawn animations... much MORE expensive. Flash or comparable programs, much MUCh less.
  7. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Yes, a salesman in an earlier commercial DID use a fox handpuppet instead of showing the customers the carfax, BUT newer commercials use a fox puppet as their mascot: usually, he'll pop up during the deal and prompt the customer to say "Yeah, show me the carfax"; the commercial usually ends with the puppet in front of their website, pointing out all the various features and pages on their site. The puppet seems to be relatively good-sized (maybe about the size of Herry Monster or so), he wears a white carfax t-shirt, and he's obviously a glove puppet with the way he points to the site's features.
    Not necessarily... puppetry is NOT an inexpensive artform... a lot of the expenses lie into the creative department: fabric and materials and such, which can cost you an arm and a leg if it's good, quality fabric. Even SCRAPS of foam can get costly.
  8. TheCreatureWork

    TheCreatureWork Active Member

    Read what I write- I didn't say puppetry is not inexpensive. I said it is a cheaper option compared to (good quality) computer animated versions of a character. I know how much I charge for a puppet :) and the amount of work that goes into it.

    I think it also depends on these other factors...
    - How fast the commercial need to be turned out
    - Size, weight, design of character
    - What the character is doing in the commercial
    - Budget
    - Personal loyalties :)

    The whole CGI vs. Puppetry arguement can be ripped apart and disected for months. What it comes down to is that we all don't really know because we aren't the ones making those decisions as to why we go with Puppetry over computer graphics or vice versa. I'm just saying that from my experience I've been on a couple of shoots where the almighty $ played a huge role in the decisions made.
  9. spcglider

    spcglider Member

    Which is it, Pantene hair care that has a big pink kangaroo puppet as a mascot?

    I've noticed a spike in the amount of puppetry too. Lets hope its a positive trend.

    On the other hand, I did notice a disturbing trend a while back that had to do with using the term "muppet" (small m) as a derogatory.

    Several times in different instances I have heard things in sitcoms/etc. akin to "What is that guy, a muppet?" or "Quit acting like a muppet!"

    -G
  10. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    "Muppet" has been a derogatory slang term in the UK for decades. I think the usage of it has just been crossing over here lately.
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Band-aid has a new commercial out with an entire cast of bright, colorful puppets singing a new jingle for the product (not the usual "I'm stuck on Band-aid brand, and Band-aid's stuck on me").

    The puppets are quite excellent looking, in both design and construction, but the commercial seems to exploit the fact that they are puppets: arms up the puppets are briefly visible, and the arm rods are extremely thick and really stand out.
  12. beakerboy12

    beakerboy12 Well-Known Member

    I saw that too! I definetely love the commercial! I can thimk puppets in commercials might not be a thing of the past!
  13. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    Chester Cheetah(Cheetos) also falls under puppet
  14. dmoss

    dmoss Member

    Guys, it's driving me nuts...what is the song they're parodying? It's an 80's tune, but I can't think of it. Something about the "In-side-out" part of the sing makes me think back really hard to my early childhood...very eighties-esque...
  15. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Has anyone seen the latest Android commercial? Where that guy can't afford a real mobile phone WITHOUT a contract, and relies on a child-like toy phone, and everywhere he goes, from the moment he gets up in the morning, to going out and doing business, he's accompanied by a chorus of puppets? And they're really great quality puppets as well, they look like the workof Rick Lyon, but I wouldn't swear to it.
    The Shoe Fairy and beakerboy12 like this.
  16. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Well, it looks as if we've got a casualty already: the CarFax Fox puppet has been replaced with, SHOCKER, CGI...
  17. robodog

    robodog Active Member

    And the CGI Car Fox looks like crap compared to the puppet version.
  18. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Just curious, how does one go about creativing creator driven puppet commercials kind of like what Jim did in the 50s - 60s and even Ed May. He used to have a website called whattacharacter.com but it looks like it's no longer there anymore. He was famous for TNN's Inside Outdoors and DC Follies. He had these foam puppets and he would do these sort slapsticky commercials. I'd totally would like to do something like that whenever I find a cool opertunaty. But what's crazy about the media industry is you need an agent and before that you need a referral and before that you...and it goes on and on like this, it goes around in a circle, it's all blocked off, it's just in the matter of breaking into the industry somehow.
  19. MrBabySpencer

    MrBabySpencer Active Member

    Does That Imaginary Friends Car Commerical Count, Cause I Just Got Done Watching It On Youtube, And Looked A Lot Like Puppetry, Anyways, Here It Is

    That Turtle Looks Similar To A Certain Frog We All Know In Love :)
  20. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    It looks like a rip off of Baby Kermit of Muppet Babies.

    I was going to mention Clyde Frog from South Park then I discovered this 1970s "The Clyde Frog Show". And I thought The Letter People (tv show that was kind of a Sesame Street rip-off) and Le Bebete Show from France was the earliest Muppet rip-offs.

    Anyway to back to the original subject, has anyone seen this really bad internet dating site commercial with this heart puppet? I personally think that it was quite amateur. The puppet and the puppeteer, especially the rods obviously being too thick and too highlighted towards the camera. When I was working out at Planet Fitness, There was this TV show on one of the HDTVs on the screen (not a commercial but I want to make this point) It's on channel E or MTV, it's youtube videos kind of like a cross between current America's Funniest Home Videos and Tosh.O of people falling down and getting hurt. Then there's this guy and this badly made sock puppet with yet another non-professional puppeteer and they laugh and shout "FAIL!". It's like the art of puppetry isn't being taken seriously as an art now a days and animation is slowly going towards that with Flash animation. I was pretty ticked off and left the gym early that night because that was just too disturbing. Wonder Showzen was sort of like that in a way but it was well written in a dark humor / satirical sort of way my opinion. But today it's...it's just basically what the mainstream thinks sells. It's like everyone talks like they are in high school, trend followers, current slang, music, UGH! I can just ramble and rant all about my dislike for current media but I'll just leave it at that.

    Also I just want to point out that I don't have anything against puppets and puppeteers that aren't as professional let's just say. I mean everyone starts from somewhere, we make our mistakes and we practice. But in mainstream, amateur stuff just doesn't look right to me. Puppetry, animation, everything. I feel it's talent the mainstream lacks. Again, just my opinion.


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