You might have noticed something familiar about a new cheeky animated character. The big ears and grey cropped hair of the potato character in the new ad for Walkers Potato Heads crisps are modelled on the infamous crisp thief himself, Mr Gary Lineker, the hero of previous hilarious ads from Walkers.
The character begins the ad as a plain potato body and mouth as Gary's voice explains the benefits of the new healthier product while the lookalike spud demonstrates using various 'body parts' as props. A multi-coloured wig illustrating artificial colours; a banana nose representing artificial flavours and a pot of face cream for artificial preservatives are all discarded before a vacuum cleaner is seen to 'suck out' the saturated fat. When all the work is done the trademark ears and grey hair are restored to the model who then admires himself in a mirror declaring 'handsome devil!'
The ad was made by the legendary Aardman Animations and the character was inspired by the classic Mr Potato Head toy, which is loved by kids all around the world. Peter Peake, the Aardman director said: "It took four weeks to shoot and the biggest challenge was the fact that it was all one shot (even the packshot was part of this shot) This meant that we had to choreograph Gary's movements to the frame as we didn't have the flexibility of an edit to change things. We went through numerous designs to capture that essential 'Garyness' in a potato-based plastic toy. It was fun discovering how with just a few simple features we could convey the likeness of Mr Lineker. Now we've pinned down his character it would be great to do more with him."
Rushes did post production work on the commercial, which included the pack being comped falling over Mr Potato Head with a match dissolve through to the animation of him bursting through the front of the pack. Another version was created by tracking the word 'new' onto the packfront matching the deformation of the creases as Mr Potato
Title: 'Mr Potato Head' Client: Walkers Crisps Director: Peter Peake Producer: Laura Pepper Production Co: Aardman Animation Agency: AMV Post Facility: Rushes CReality: Adrian Seery Inferno: Claire Pollock Rushes Producer: Sonia Ralton