Petpunk discusses surreal Vilnius commercial

Top Lithuanian design and animation agency Petpunk has recently completed a striking tourism commercial for its home country's capital city of Vilnius. The ad is to be broadcast internationally and highlights Vilnius's place as European City of Culture in 2009.

The commercial is aimed at a middle and upper class audience in the age groups of 18-40 and 50+, encouraging them to visit Vilnius as a city that combines a rich history, friendly people and a creative and cultural hub.

The keywords for Petpunk's take on this brief were 'originality', 'surprise, and 'radical'

"We talked to audience as you talk to children," says Petpunk's Gediminas . The team created a "playful and colourful story, like a book of fairytales that quickly tells you about the city's founding legend and its unique character.
Vinius is a city where you can -- at least for the short time -- became a child again. Here you can be free create and dream."

To bring this to life, Petpunk's team looked for an unusual style -- before settling on a chaotic mix of different forms where rough live-action footage is mashed-up with clearly obvious CG.

"We searched for strange aesthetic, mixing different styles and materials together," says Šiaulys. "What we wanted to give the animation included spontaneity, liveliness, a neglect of genre, and daring to be crude and primitive."

"It's inescapable," he jokes, "because of our limited skills."

The biggest challenge for Petpunk was representing its home country in its own terms, without relying on traditional Western European or American design and animation styles.

"Though it's very symbolic, this video will speak about Lithuania to the world," says Šiaulys. "We are responsible for whole country's voice in a visual language. So our biggest challenge was to create that voice that will correctly represent Lithuania today -- and to understand how to reflect Lithuanian identity with a contemporary design language.

The piece was created in Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, and Softimage|XSI. The commercial will be shown in the UK, France and Germany -- as well as across Scandinavia and the Baltic region.

The ad can be seen here. Behind-the-scenes shots of the live-action shoot of small furry animals can be seen here.

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