MIKROS MPC BRINGS THE ICONIC DURACELL BUNNY TO MODERN AGE
Mikros MPC has been working alongside Duracell since 2012 developing and deploying the Duracell Bunny in over 40 countries.
First introduced in 1973, the Bunny has come to globally renowned as Duracell’s brand mascot. Mikros MPC has become the Bunny’s visual identity guardian for the last 7 years, ensuring the consistency and integrity across all media worldwide, be it TV, digital, social media or print.
As the Duracell Bunny evolved, Mikros MPC are continuously exploring his features, movements and emotions. The team has been able to remove the technical and artistic limitations that were imposed by the previous version. Over the years, the teams have carried out several design studies to propose evolutions to make the Bunny more realistic and closer to the needs of the ever-demanding entertainment industry.
With this new campaign ‘Power On’, Wunderman Thompson UK was looking to reinvent the Bunny. In this campaign he is a superhero for the modern age, motivating devices and gadgets to perform at their best.
The campaign is made up of two spots all in which our iconic pink Bunny has to bring technology back to life, making sure it works properly at critical moments – like a remote ceasing to work when parents desperately need to change the channel or saving the day by getting the megaphone to work upon an alien landing.
To meet the demands of these scripts, Mikros MPC needed to evolve the bunny in order to credibly take on these challenges. One key point of evolution was adding fingers to the Bunny. As he goes into all these various situations to power up the devices with Duracell, he needed fingers in order to make this look realistic.
His size and proportions also evolved so he can perform some of his superhero moves with greater agility and realism.
And perhaps the most notable change, he talks now! He has a voice to go with his bouncy personality as he interacts with the devices to make sure they are performing.
Switching to the new Bunny design involved a full rework of the existing assets by Mikros MPC artists. A brand-new set of 3D assets has been built from scratch based on 2D references to maintain the consistency with the original brand identity.This allowed the artists also deeply modernize the tools and allow greater scalability in the long term.
Leveraging the expertise of Mikros in feature animation, the rig was revamped to achieve greater character performance, allowing animators to work more accurately on specific parts of the body. The joint deformations were also improved, resulting in nicer shapes and outlines. The Bunny’s facial rig and eyes were also rebuilt from scratch with several layers of controls to refine his acting abilities and allow him to speak. In this campaign, the Duracell Bunny has much more expressive face, even with his eyebrows creating wrinkles when they move. He is now able to show a lot more emotions through subtle changes in his expressions when he speaks as his mouth is much more mobile as well.
The fur has also been reworked so it’s less “clean”, with clumps to give it a natural soft look. Additionally, seams were added around his body to make him look more like a stuffed animal toy.
When looking at the evolved bunny in this new world, the color grade was critical as well. MPC Colourist Duncan Russell said of his approach:
“The goal of the grade was to create a distinctive feel for each spot and bed the bunny into that look. For example, ‘Alien’ is a pastiche of a sci fi movie. We wanted the bunny to be perfectly composited but to also be a surprise, a counterpoint to the pre-existing pallet of classic Hollywood tones. Luckily pink is not often seen in sci fi movies, and by increasing the sense of dusk in the backplates we got here pretty quickly.”
This project marks a key milestone for the Mikros MPC team and their 7 year collaboration with Duracell and the iconic bunny. Hugo Allart, Head of Production at Mikros MPC says of the continued partnership:
“It’s a real pride to work on a brand mascot like Bunny for such a long time. We made him evolve over the campaigns but always keeping in mind the integrity of the Duracell brand visual identity and values. But we knew for a long time that Bunny needed to be rejuvenated. It’s a great achievement to see that our intuition and ideas are implemented through this trusted collaboration with Wunderman Thompson on their first campaign for Duracell.”