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Coke’s “East Meets West” by Smith & Foulkes

Smith and Foulkes

I don’t think I’ve ever been able to exactly pinpoint what it is that I so enjoy about the directing duo Smith & Foulkes (repped by Nexus Productions), but they seemingly turn out more top-notch spots than anybody else in the commercial game. Their latest spot for Coca-Cola, “East Meets West,” is yet another piece of CG that impresses the hell out of me, largely because every element of this piece is carefully considered and designed to work in unison. I especially love how the commercial’s ornate visual detail is contrasted with a limited animation style. This directorial restraint allows for the graphics to read with a crispness and elegance that is uncommon in the world of commercial CG. As far as Coke adverts go, it’s hard to ask for much more.

(via Motionographer)

  • Mike Russo

    I cant tell if this is sarcasm or if you really mean it. LOL

  • Visually fancy and all, I didn’t care for it.

    What you described as limited animation just looks done cheaply to me. The action is too fast to follow, and the staging of the whole thing confuses the eye as to where to look.

    What’s more, while this commercial shows a pissing contest between American and Chinese cultural clichés, it’s silly to resolve it because they both whip out a cock at the same time. I mean coke at the same time. Because it’s just a commercial, one can forgive the hyperbole that cocacola is even better than a marching band, John Wayne, a giant bald eagle and hip hop bears. Still, despite its unquestionable ubiquity worldwide, no one outside of the US would see the product as a part of their own home culture. On the contrary, it would be first and foremost be equated to something uniquely American.

  • Arthur Metcalf

    I’ll pinpoint it for you, Amid. Panda bears performing martial arts. ACE!

  • Smith & Foulkes were guests of the Platform Festival in Portland last year and they showed some amazing work (I believe they created the opening animation). This piece is not one of their strongest.

  • Tom Pope

    Yeeaaahhhhh…. The animation just isn’t great. For the money obviously spent on the overall spot, the characters look and move worse than most video games.

  • Chuck R.

    I agree that the commercial’s no standout. The pace is too fast, especially at the beginning. It kind of takes off and asks the viewer to catch up with it. I would have opened with a shot of two cultural symbols or flags rather than cheerleaders. (As soon as you see the players, you get “sports”, you don’t necessarily get “east vs. west”).

    I wouldn’t read too much into it, though. All they are saying is that Coke is one of those rare products that transcends cultural boundaries. Like Kentucky Fried Chicken, Elton John and VW Bugs. :)

    Arthur, touche! :) :)

  • I’m pretty sure that a panda is not a match for a grizzly. On the other hand, dragons are overkill against cowboys, so I guess it all works out in the end.

    Also, does Chinese Coke use real sugar (like most of the non-American variants)? If so, then Chinese Coke wins.

  • elan

    I saw San-ne Claus!

  • Tom Pope

    Chuck R: Yes. Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s everywhere you will ever POSSIBLY be. I mean REALLY. Go figure.

  • What, no criticism of the “Uncanny Valley”? Oh, I forgot! It’s Friday :)

    PS: fluffy, what I understood is that in the end is not a contest between America vs China, but the blurring of cultural differences due to globalization and corporativism. But hey! what do I know? After all, Mexico is the #1 consumer of Coke in the World —What else do you use to prepare a “Cuba”, or as you guys name it, “Cuba Libre”? ;)

  • The 3D animation part is on 2x :)

  • Nothing outstanding. Nice visuals for the most part, but when they threw up the bottles my immediate thought was, “but wait…Coke is still western.” and hence nullified the entire message and made it kind of pointless. The best coke ad that ever got my attention was the Grand Theft Auto parody.

  • This is pretty cool looking! Not “amazing” but definitely way better than average and not as bad as everyone else here seems to think. There was some great design in it, even if the animation itself could’ve been smoother.

    I think overall, Coca Cola’s new commercials are some of the best (and only not-annoying) new ads out there; especially their “Coke Side of Life” ads.

  • Marky

    Wow, terrible models rigging and animation. The pace made it hard to follow too. Maybe terrible is too strong of a word. But, I’m wondering who fell off the wagon thinking this looked good?