"I'm a naturally upbeat person, but there was a time when I felt deflated," says the star of a new commercial from Hydrow, a maker of connected fitness equipment. "After a 20 minutes full-body workout, I feel better. Better than better. I feel high."
That's quite an endorsement. But it sounds pretty authentic coming from a balloon man after he pumps on a rowing machine in this literally uplifting spot from agency Mojo Supermarket.
"It was a pretty outlandish concept, but that's what we liked about it," Hydrow CEO and founder Bruce Smith tells Muse. "And is there anything more joyful than balloons? When you see them, you can't help but smile. We wanted to bring a lighthearted touch to fitness and reflect how we know people feel after working out with Hydrow—lighter and happier."
Director Rich Hall keeps the proceedings ... grounded. While memorable and slightly surreal, the visuals never seem ridiculous. And John Beckwith brings an appropriately light touch to his every-dude narration.
"The feeling of deflation has been fairly universal, especially over the last few years," Smith says. "We wanted to reach people who have been grappling with this, and who are looking for a full mind and body workout that they'll be able to fit into their daily habits and routine."
The ad's inflatable couple, nicknamed Bob and Lucy by the crew, was custom made for the shoot.
"Our goal was to ensure they looked like balloon people, while being charming and relatable," says Mojo production director Erica Grubman. "Our character-design phase was quite extensive, and the development was akin to the casting process since they were the talent. We used a combination of fabricated models and puppeteers, as well as CGI, to ensure the balloons came to life seamlessly."
Indeed, the results are impressive, and it's tough to tell which scenes are juiced. Hint: Balloon bruhs can't strenuously row on high-tech machines. Yet.
"Our biggest challenge was accurately depicting Bob using the Hydrow and demonstrating the evolution of our character going from deflated to inflated," says Grubman. "For this sequence we used a combination of an experienced rower wearing a custom Bob suit and CGI animation. It was also important that Bob rowed correctly—proper form is critical for getting the most out of your workout and for preventing injury."
Glad he elevated his mood with all those endorphins and such. Hope the work pops in the marketplace. In a manner of speaking, of course.
Brands have floated stuff in a similar vein before. Recent notables include Waze's intrepid tube man, these soaring lungs raising awareness of air pollution, and the Clio Award-winning 70-foot inflated dinosaur head hyping Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Agency: Mojo Supermarket
Production: Riff Raff
Director: Rich Hall
Wave Studios NY, Aaron Reynolds
Wave Studios, Parv Thind