Former WVIK News Employee Helps Create Super Bowl Ad

February  03, 2014

A former WVIK employee helped create a ketchup commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. Four years after graduating from Augustana College in Rock Island, Jeff Chin is a director at the Chicago branch of Animated Storyboards." Chin says last fall, an advertising agency working with Heinz hired his company to animate several ideas for television commercials. Animated Storyboards then created the "test" ads, starting with sketches. "So, artists draw all the camera angles and character positions that I want. Then we create 3-D sets, and sometimes do photo shoots with real actors. Then we composite it together and send it to the agency. Once that's approved, we start animating it."

The 30-second ad that aired during the game features people humming while they hit the bottoms of bottles, trying to get ketchup to come out. Then an elderly woman at a big family dinner squeezes a plastic bottle that's nearly empty. The loud noise it makes and her reaction (see photo) are what make it work. "It's the comedic timing of the reveal of Grandma at the end," Chin says, "and making sure you have all you establishing shots, so you know where your characters are. And you cut in close to their hands so you can see that they're hitting the bottom of the ketchup bottle. So it's a lot of story-telling skill." 

And the animation director says it can be tricky to do with such a limited amount of time.

He didn't see the final version of the Heinz Super Bowl ad until last night. On his Facebook page, Chin posted, "I just told a fart joke to 108.4 million people." And he wouldn't allow anyone at his party to use the bathroom during commercial breaks.

You can watch the original and extended versions of the commercial on You Tube. (Photo source is a screenshot.) And Chin's web site is jwchin.com