The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), US

Illustrations and art direction for this 3 different commercials for TV for the New Mexico campaign about if you drink, do not drive. Being safe this summer is top of mind. And as always, if you’re drinking,
designate a driver and get home safely. Help #ENDWI.

Storyboard for Endwi/Justdrive/Bklup  videos
Studio animation:Halflife digital
Broadcast Creative Director: Nick Tauro 
Music: Helen

The new summer ENDWI campaign is unlike anything The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) has done before. Colorful animation tells the story of the effects of drinking and driving during the pandemic. The choice to animate the spot emanated from the need for production teams to work remotely — no more big sets with crowds of extras. Collaboration was key. Directors, illustrators, writers, animators, editors, graphic artists, and music composers among others, all came together virtually to tell this timely and consequential story.

There were challenges to this new way of working. The collaboration spanned time zones via phone calls, texts, emails, and Zoom meetings. An easy decision when meeting in person could now stretch hours. Processing power was needed to render all the animated sequences adding time for each edit as the layers in the animation grew. Every element on screen has its own motion and behavior. One change would set off a chain reaction, affecting all the animated layers below it. As opposed to shooting live action where most of the work is on the front end, a long, animated sequence bears its heavy lifting through the post-production process. Mostly this was done remotely; however, there were a couple times the crew got together in the studio to finalize cuts. Everyone got tested, wore masks, and adhered to social distancing.

Some illustration frames from the commercial:

The result was worth the effort. Nick Tauro, RK Venture’s Broadcast Creative Director, orchestrated the production of the video from storyboard to final edit. “The spot exceeded my expectations. The illustration style designed by Cachetejack in Berlin, Germany, itself was unique and exciting, but then in the capable hands of halflife* digital, it really came to life. The animation they were able to achieve was complex, adding depth and dimension to the world they created through three-dimensional landscapes. It was exciting to see that happen.”

The music composed by Helen, a duo from Belgium, also exceeded expectations. It was inspired by Jens Lekman’s song, “Maple Leaves.” Nick spent the day with the animatic and listened to different tunes of different styles in iMovie when he heard this track and knew this was it. Helén’s music encompasses the same spirit of the song. “Every time I hear it, I’m so pleased. It’s integral to the whole success of the spot and matches the visual so well,” remarks Nick.

The video features animated characters through a colorful, bright and sunny New Mexican neighborhood as they responsibly reemerge from their stay-at-home orders. The camera follows the neighborhood’s residents through their leisure activities picking up on a new set of folks as it glides by them (à la Slacker). When we see a guy leaving the park, bottle in hand, the story takes a turn.

Broadcast TV and social videos in both English and Spanish are supported by a digital and social media campaign on multiple platforms including online ads, Facebook, Instagram Stories, Twitter, and YouTube. A dedicated microsite and radio ads further the campaign’s reach.