ShadowMachine Produces SoCal Honda Holiday Campaign via Secret Weapon


Stop Motion Spots Deliver Santa Nice...and Naughty

Last Updated: December 4, 2013 8:02 pm GMT
(Los Angeles, California--December 4, 2013) Selling a car to Santa is no easy feat. Neither is winning the confidence of Secret Weapon Marketing’s Rick Sittig, a 30-year ad vet and accomplished director in his own right. Emmy Award® winning studio ShadowMachine has accomplished both, with its second consecutive SoCal Honda Dealers holiday campaign via Secret Weapon, airing now. The four-spot package – also screening in theaters - follows up on last year’s success, continuing the "Happy Honda Days" campaign message with a twist. While the animation style contributes to the initial warm and cheery portrayal of potential North Pole customers, their rougher edges are revealed. The spots were directed by ShadowMachine’s Jed Hathaway, who helmed the first round of Honda commercials and whose commercial credits include the studio’s ADDY Award-winning Farmer’s Insurance campaign. In addition to Honda and Farmer’s, ShadowMachine’s full-service commercial division has produced projects for Disney, Fuel TV, Hallmark and GE.

“We designed the characters and environments to have an innocent, classic aesthetic reminiscent of ‘Davey and Goliath’ or the nostalgic Rankin Bass specials,” said Hathaway. “It's all a setup for our helpful Honda dealers who commit to helping customers, unwittingly putting themselves in harm’s way.” In one spot, the Honda dealer is offered a chance to go down the “Chimney” on Christmas Eve in return for helping Santa sort through all of the holiday car sales events. The ride may be more risk than reward. A second ad has Santa extending an offer to our Helpful Honda dealer, letting him help deliver gifts...albeit to “Max” who tops the naughty list. In the remaining spots, we meet a crafty snow “Angel” and a hungry, self-serving “Penguin”. Last year’s campaign featured an Angry Elf ruthlessly protecting his turf and Santa’s “Sleigh” soaring with a helpful hand.

This year’s expansive campaign includes online banners, outdoor billboards, and in-dealership displays. Hathaway credits ShadowMachine’s “high pedigree of artists, from designers and fabricators to assistants and animators” with making possible not only the Honda work but the many diverse projects being produced in-house at the studio for Television, Film and Digital Media.

For more in-depth coverage, check out Jordan Brady's interview with director Jed Hathaway on "Respect the Process", a weekly podcast about commercial filmmaking, listen HERE.

About ShadowMachine
Established in 1999 by Alexander Bulkley and Corey Campodonico, ShadowMachine is an Emmy Award® winning studio, home to cutting edge creative talent in animation for film, television, commercials and music videos.

Since its early days producing the acclaimed stop-motion animation show Robot Chicken, ShadowMachine has become a Television mainstay. The company produced Moral Orel, Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole and Titan Maximum, all for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. The company is currently in production on TripTank, a block of animation that premieres on Comedy Central December 3, incorporating a variety of styles by a host of creators. Also in production is the animated show BoJack Horseman for Michael Eisner's Tornante Company, starring Will Arnett, Patton Oswalt and Amy Sedaris.

On the Feature Film front, ShadowMachine is currently in post-production on Hell and Back, slated for a 2014 release. The film is voiced by Susan Sarandon, Mila Kunis, and Bob Odenkirk. ShadowMachine is also on board to produce Pinocchio, a stop-motion animated feature film directed by Guillermo del Toro.

About Secret Weapon Marketing
Established in 1997, Secret Weapon Marketing is a full service creative agency known for developing unusually effective advertising and marketing campaigns. Committed to constructing unique and recognizable properties for its clients, the Agency has won a total of 11 EFFIE awards, including one for the Honda Helpful campaign on behalf of the Southern California Honda Dealers Association, and a 2008 Gold Effie for work on the Jack in the Box® campaign. Located in Santa Monica, Calif., Secret Weapon Marketing was formed by Rick Sittig, creator of the Energizer Bunny® and long-running Jack in the Box® campaign; and Managing Director, Patrick Adams. For more information, please visit

SoCal HONDA - Penguin from ShadowMachine on Vimeo.

Project Credits
Client: SoCal Honda Dealers Association
Spots Title(s): Penguin, Chimney, Angel, Max
First Air Date: 11/18/2013

Agency/Location: Secret Weapon Marketing (Santa Monica, CA)
Creative Director: Rick Sittig
Associate Creative Directors: Leah Dieterich, Reece Hoverkamp
Art Directors: Neil Desai, Brynn Malek, Janete Chun, Jaime Villalva,

Copywriters: Brian Hallisey, Kathryn McFarlane, Sarah Weigl, Mike Alfaro
Agency Producer: Randy Zook

Production Company/Location: ShadowMachine (Los Angeles)
Director: Jed Hathaway
DP: Mark Eifert

Animation Director: Webster Colcord
EP(s): Corey Campodonico, Alex Bulkley
Head of Production/Producer: Victoria Howard

Editorial Company/Location: Stitch (Santa Monica, CA)
Editor: David Checel
Compositing: Mitch Gardiner
Editorial EP: Chris Girard

Telecine Company/Location: Company 3 (Santa Monica, CA)
Colorist: Dave Hussey

Sound Mix: Eleven Sound (Santa Monica)
Mixer: Jeff Payne

Shoot Location: ShadowMachine Studio Los Angeles, CA


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