The Propeller Group on the Production of TVCC

4:36 | Published on July 22, 2013 | 202 Views

The Propeller Group discusses the details of their collaboration with advertising firm TBWA and production company Rice Creative on the rebranding of communism, a project that culminated with the making of Television Commercial for Communism (TVCC). The artists also describe the storyline of the animation that TBWA created, talk about the process of designing a new logo for the ideology in association with Rice Creative, and reveal the symbolism in the project’s use of the color red.

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Tuan Andrew Nguyen: When people hear about our project, Television Commercial for Communism, they think we’re being ironic and facetious. But to a certain extent, we’re not. Because in a context such as Vietnam, things like these two very extreme opposite political ideologies are coexisting, in a way.

Matt Lucero: When we approached TBWA to do Television Commercial for Communism, it was completely up to them, whatever they chose to do. [TBWA: The assignment is pretty broad. There are no mediums dictated; it’s a full-on campaign.] And our brief to them was that, we were acting as the last five remaining communist countries, and were approaching a big advertising agency to rebrand the idea of communism.

Tuan Andrew Nguyen: It was really important for us to work with a global advertising company that does really incredible work for really big clients like Apple, Nissan, and Gatorade. For us, it was the convergence of these two very different histories: the commercial, which was a result of capitalism and advertising, and the history of Communism. And for us, this project is where they both meet.

When we approached TBWA, it was up to them to choose what format they wanted to use. They ultimately chose the idea of this girl who was traversing the world. She would approach different groups of people, and in having these interactions with people, exchange smiles. She would take these smiles as objects, a sort of currency, and keep them. Then as she traveled around throughout the day, she had this collection of smiles. And at the end of the day, there was a group of people hanging out, and singing music, and it was a very ideal sunset scene. And she starts distributing her smiles, and everybody’s enjoying this sharing of the smile. And they all come together to form the new flag of communism, which was made up of these colored smiles. And the treatment was, it was a paper cutout world. So everything was in white, and the only thing that was in color were these smiles.

Then we were able to work with another production company in Vietnam to further develop the logo and the brand for the new communism. Rice Creative is another production company—they do graphic design, conceptual design for branding, and identity creation. They took the idea from TBWA and developed it. And what they were interested in was creating a logo that was kind of like the new red.

Matt Lucero: So they picked a red that was slightly friendlier, not as bright and harsh, like a RGB red. But they chose a cooler red. And then they had this gradient tone that was really nice.

Tuan Andrew Nguyen: Yeah. And they also developed these smiles into a circular form. Something that was even more open and welcoming, and less referencing the star that the original smiles were referencing.

Matt Lucero: It was really amazing working with those guys because they really took the project seriously. Everybody did, actually. I mean, they produced a brand bible for communism!

So, there are multiple layers in the production of the project. It starts with TBWA and evolves with TBWA and another agency into this sort of logo design, and treatment, and then into a production company, with a director who ultimately produces the commercial.

So, ultimately, the commercial took this form of real actors that were in a sort of frozen state. And it was a one-take commercial, with this actress that was playing the girl in the commercial. She’s sort of running around and filling all these spots. It was a really fun commercial to see. But it was very different than the TBWA version of the animation. So we got a final commercial that’s different again to what we expected. Our expectations are always being shifted and changed. It was really interesting. I just loved seeing it, and being a part of it.