Blue Room's image-makers have created a promotional campaign for Animal Planet's 73-minute feature documentary Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins, set to air on the network May 25. A slightly different version of the clever creative will promote the Meerkat's fourth season on Animal Planet, which begins airing June 6th. The promotional elements began airing on May 17th.

Meerkat Manor has enjoyed considerable success and is now Animal Planet's top series, both on cable and through its video-on-demand service. The show's experimental format broke new ground in animal documentary filming techniques and allowed viewers a long term, intimate look into the lives of its meerkat stars.

Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins, which had its world premiere at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, is an homage to the Queen of the Kalahari, Flower, a larger than life meerkat who passed away last year in mid-season as she defended her babies, and tells the story of Flower and her family.

Animal Planet gave the Blue Room team footage of meerkats shot against green screen, some Web and movie concepts and asked them to create a whimsical promo.

"Blue Room found the perfect musical track, put the meerkats against a white background grooving to the beat, bobbing up and down, heads moving back and forth, then added some red flying type and, as always, delivered a great promo. You give them a little bit of direction and they absorb it, incorporate it, and come back with something better than you were looking for and exactly in line with the creative that we want here," said Animal Planet Marketing Director Michael Eisenbaum of his experience working with Blue Room.


Brian Aumueller, creative director of Blue Room, explained the agency's process.

"We got great shots of the meerkats in their natural habitat, keyed them out and cleaned them up. Some of the clips were short, in others the actions could not be sustained over a long enough period of time to be useful. If we decided to populate our universe with meerkats, what could they be doing in groups that would be really whimsical? We pulled most of the visual universe from Animal Planet's print marketing and then decided to create the illusion that these meerkats were dancing.

"We chose a baroque hip-hop track, as we wanted to allude to the idea of royalty, and the :30 music driven tribute to the Queen turned out to be the perfect solution to our challenge."

Blue Room utilized Adobe After Effects and Photoshop in the creation of the promos.