By The Chicago Egotist / /
O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul taps into our united desire for sweet distraction with a charming new holiday hero – Claude The Hamster – who stars in a “live” watchable webcam and a series of television, video, out of home and on-premise ads for the Illinois Lottery’s popular holiday gift – Instant Tickets.
Claude is first introduced to viewers in a .60 and .30 second ad that reveals his charming appeal. We see that when not in his cage, Claude the Hamster exercises his love of scratching, leaving his scratch marks on all surfaces of the tiny apartment he shares with a young couple. While it appears this activity might be his undoing, it turns out to be acknowledged with his own perfect holiday gift – an instant ticket from the Illinois Lottery.
“Claude is really a love story that is ideally suited for the time we live in with its many issues we all face as well as our resilience and optimism,” explained Aubrey Walker, ECD at OKRP. “The Lottery challenged us to find a creative way to share the magic of the holidays and our team really got inside that moment of joy you have when gifted a Lottery ticket and the idea that anything can happen. All of that is captured in the final frame when you see Claude’s face light up when he sees the ticket in his cage.”
Consumers really get up close to Claude via an interactive web site, Watch Claude, that enables fans to see Claude in his habitat via three different camera angles and to choose from a variety of items – cheese puffs, lottery tickets, a replica of the Chicago bean and more – and watch Claude play.
“People love to give Lottery tickets for the holidays, and this year we wanted to connect the spirit of giving and the excitement that comes when you get an instant ticket, given the many challenges everyone has faced this year,” said Lottery Acting Director, Harold Mays. “Claude lets us celebrate the inner scratcher in all of us, making him an instant Holiday classic.”
Claude was created using real footage of the hamster in his cage as well as animation. In discussing the process, Ruairi Twohig, VFX Supervisor at Framestore said, “Our team set out to create a photoreal CG creature with the capacity to convey humanlike emotions while respecting how a hamster would move and perform in reality. A real hamster was used for several shots, so it was important to maintain continuity between the animal and our CG animated Claude, while enhancing his performance at key moments in the story. Detailed lighting, compositing and fx simulations helped to ground Claude in his environment and throughout his interactions with the actors.”
Founder/CEO: Tom O’Keefe
Exec. Creative Director: Aubrey Walker
Creative Director (Art): Ben Bonnan
Creative Director (Copy): Zach Bonnan
Producer: Becca Major
Head of Client Business: Brenda Donahue
Account Director: Emily Magyar
Director of Brand Strategy: Hanley Fansler
Prod Co: Rakish
Director – Matt Smuckler
Executive Producer – Preston Garrett – EP Rakish
Editorial: Cut & Run
Editor: Jon Grover
Producer: Malia Rose
Managing Director: Lauren Hertzberg