A week is a long time in advertising. A year is practically its own era. 25 of them, then, is a mind-boggling length of time.
And yet that is precisely the milestone that the creative studio Nice Shoes has been celebrating in 2021. In truth, there are precious few companies which can claim to have had as meaningful and enduring an impact on our industry as Nice Shoes. Originally co-founded by Dominic Pandolfino in 1996, the past 25 years have seen the studio bring to life some of the most iconic work in short and long-form alike.
Today, we’re picking through the five best examples of Nice Shoes’ work in the field of VFX. Visual effects has been a core part of the company’s evolution as a studio, as it represented a step outside of the world of color in which Nice Shoes’ reputation had previously been long-established. As founder Dominic Pandolfino told LBB earlier this year, the team at Nice Shoes was always conscious of not going for a ‘jack of all trades’ approach and ensuring that the quality for which the company had always been associated with, namely its work in color, was still present throughout its efforts in VFX. Looking back on the projects in this list, it’s easy to see how the team succeeded in that effort.
So, without further ado, let’s reflect on five of the most head-turning VFX examples from Nice Shoes’ first quarter of a century…
food network: the kitchen is alive
As any parent hurriedly putting together a post-school dinner can attest, there are times at which the chaos of a family kitchen simply takes on a life of its own. This 2019 ad for Food Network is an ode to the glory and potential of that chaos, as we see ingredients, utensils, and best-laid plans fly into the air amidst the majestic pandemonium of a kitchen in full-flow. Adding VFX to this busy 60-second spot was Nice Shoes’ very own Jason Farber.
pinterest: you might just surprise yourself
At times, it’s easy to forget a simple truth – some of the best ads are simply fun. For a testament to that fact, look no further than this 2021 spot for Pinterest out of Droga5. If the above Food Network ad is a celebration of chaos, this is an ode to individuality. The aspirational ad was in fact Pinterest’s first-ever brand campaign. Taking up responsibility for VFX on this impactful ad were Nice Shoes’ Tyler Whelan and Jason Farber.
Stepping away momentarily from the world of commercials, our next spot is a stunningly realized music video. And not just any music video – Kanye West’s ‘Power’ (and his entire My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album) has arguably become one of the most iconic and enduring creative works of the 21st Century. Nice Shoes’ VFX artist/supervisor Jason Farber was tasked with applying VFX to match the grandeur of the song – and few could argue that the team delivered precisely that.
Speaking of iconic, it’s hard to imagine a more timeless brand than Gillette. It’s so enduring, in fact, that earlier this year the Nice Shoes team was tasked with taking us on a trip back to 1989 for a commercial starring football legend Deion Sanders and some ground-breaking ‘deep fake’ technology. The project culminated in a life-affirming moment for Nice Shoes’ ECD Harv Glazer, who recounted to LBB the moment he saw Sanders light up as he watched the spot himself for the first time.
downy: unleash the freshness
Taking us right up to the present day, fabric softener brand Downy enlisted Nice Shoes’ help as they embarked on a light-hearted but ambitious approach to their category. The resulting spot’s celebration of ‘freshness’ is so powerful and infectious, one can’t help but feel more fresh for having watched it. Helping the VFX to sing on this eye-catching ad was Nice Shoes’ creative directors Eleven.
Read the article on Little Black Book here.