Ketel One ‘Drink Marvelously’

FIG rebrands Ketel One Vodka using hand-drawn animation from studio Niceshit.

NY based creative agency FIG has developed a new brand identity for Ketel One Vodka featuring doodles of a cast of wonderful characters. FIG and Niceshit wanted the animations and stills to feel as though they had been doodled on a cocktail napkin and had spontaneously sprung to life.

They depict a toga-clad artist’s model quaffing a cocktail, a group of happy drinkers celebrating a cocktail-mixing parachutist, a beret-topped gentleman toasting a shrub, and many other amusing scenes revolving around vodka.

The intention of the rebrand, led by FIG, with print executions illustrated by FIG head of Design Max Friedman and animations in the style by Niceshit, to create a cast of interesting characters and personalities to send the message that everyone is welcome in the Ketel One universe.

“Anyone can look at one of our ambiguous characters and put themselves in their shoes – even if those shoes are on a person suspended by balloons dropping a lime into a Dutch Mule” – Scott Vitrone, FIG Chief Creative Officer

In order to create something “distinctive and own-able,” Barcelona-based Animation studio Niceshit developed a bespoke brush in Photoshop – a “pencil-style line with all sorts of human imperfections meant to mimic a hand-drawn stroke, that varied depending on the pen inclination and pressure,” a release about the project reveals.

The challenge of the project was bestowing each character with an immediately readable attitude and personality through minimal physical characteristics, be it a moustache, wristwatch, hairstyle or hat. “Nothing too distracting or overbearing, but enough to help make a distinction, create a diverse realm of characters, and allow for endless possibility for iterations”.

“We weren’t inspired or taking cues from The New Yorker, but it does have a timeless feeling like The New Yorker. The illustration style does an incredible job of distilling an idea down to its simplest form and using very few lines to tell a larger story.” – Scott Vitrone, Fig CCO/Partner

Although the characters remained sophisticated and human-like, Niceshit played around and pushed the boundaries with their movement style and their range of expressions, broadening the realm of reality and adding some playful charm.

Niceshit decided to animate each of the drawings using fewer frames per second than normal to make the animation feel more approachable and handmade. Timing was a key part of the project to make sure that there was space to get to know the characters and for the gags to land. Nice shit indeed.

Niceshit incorporated wide shot set-up scenes to establish a broader environment and create a sense of community from the get-go and set the stage for the main plot, and each spot ending with the main character cheekily interacting with the Ketel One bottle, creating a lighthearted consistency throughout.

In each TVC, Niceshit worked hard to ensure the pace was slick and the transitions smooth so they could have enough time to play with small pauses to enrich each action and leave time for the delightful moments and ‘gags’ to land.

Niceshit were able to breathe life into Fig’s campaign design style, creating a totally bespoke and functional animated universe, which we’re confident will become an iconic and long-running look for the brand.

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