natetheis natetheis

Nate Theis

Nate Theis

Meet my favorite animation director of the moment: Nate Theis. He works at Madison, Wisconsin-based Planet Propaganda which is a hybrid ad agency/production house. Theis recently posted a selection of work on his new website and I love pretty much everything he’s done. The commercials feel fresher, sharper and just a little more raw than the majority of advertising I see coming out of mainstream ad agencies. The Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich campaign, which Theis helped to concept and write in addition to animating and directing, is one of the funniest collection of spots I’ve seen in some time, not to mention a perfect Roger Ramjet tribute. The Nonsek clothing and ACR Electronics spots are simple concepts executed to a tee, while the Gary Fisher bike campaign shows range and a willingness to experiment. A graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design, Theis is a director to keep an eye on.

  • Loved the Jimmy John’s commercials. Wish they air in my area.

  • Fred Crippen timing for the 21st Century. Funny!

  • Great stuff!

  • Tom Minton

    His cutting isn’t just fast, it’s thoughtful. Who knew there was so much work in Wisconsin?

  • John

    His stuff looks cool and not to be a stick in the mud, but I’m kind of bummed your favorite animation director is an advertising guy doing throwback stuff and not somebody who’s out there pushing the boundaries.

  • amid

    John: Nate is not just doing” throwback stuff” and you’d know that if you’d looked at his site.

  • John

    Sorry to disagree Amid, I did check out his site and my opinion hasn’t changed much… There’s even a pretty blatant Hertzfeldt ripoff in there, albeit a poorly executed one. Altogether Theis strikes me as just another clever advertising guy, recycling other people’s ideas rather than creating new ones. Shrug.

  • Makes me wanna order some Jimmy John’s right now!

  • Saturnome

    That would be quite cool to see such ads on my TV, they’re fun!

  • Being from Wisconsin, I’m familiar with Planet Propaganda’s design, but I was unaware of the fun animation of Nate Theis. This stuff is brimming with zippy anarchic craziness that’s enjoyable whether it turns up in advertising or indie cartoons.

  • Dock Miles

    Well, I don’t remember ever seeing a gag about a cow running on its udder, so inventing that gets points right there. Also, shark with braces — excellent.

  • Gerard de Souza

    Refreshing stuff. “throwback” is unfair. There are multiple aprroaches and entertaining. While visual styles can be mimicked, impeccable timing is not so easy. I feel he is genuinely influenced, not so much imitating.

  • John

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to tear down the kid.
    I’m just saying I’m puzzled by what’s so special or unique about this one particular advertising guy for Amid to crown him his “favorite animation director.” That’s a pretty lofty title! I guess to each their own.

  • Animator Gettin’ Paid

    LOL. you keep saying “advertising guy”. Nate Theis looks like an animator to me.


  • Mr. NBA

    I’ve had the pleasure to work with Nate numerous times. He’s an original thinker and creator. He is in no way an “ad guy.” He also can grow a beard.

  • The Jimmy John’s commercials are crazy awesome! They hearken back to 60s TV animation, like UNDERDOG or ROGER RAMJET! I’d love to see more stuff like that.

  • John

    Does everything on the Internet have to be “the greatest” or “my new favorite” or “this sucks?” Why can’t we just say something was pretty cool and leave it at that?

    Amid, the Brew is turning into a den of hyperbole. And when a weird claim is questioned, people launch out of the woodwork to stomp around and randomly defend the animator as a nice guy.

    Since when is being called an advertising guy a perceived insult?
    The guy does sandwich commercials. He works in advertising, right? Peace out.

  • Dock Miles

    >Since when is being called an advertising guy a perceived insult?

    Uh, ever since it joined the long line of jibes related to “prostitute.”

  • Dock Miles

    >I’m kind of bummed your favorite animation director is an advertising guy doing throwback stuff

    I mean, stand up and admit this is meant as a flat dis. Quit moving the goal posts (“favorite animation director” is not the focus of your post).

    Grappling with these attitudes helps you make better judgments.