Can stick insects ride bicycles? They can, at least in the beautiful one-minute animated spot that the Buenos Aires, Argentina-based studio PepperMelon recently created for MTV's Top 10 at 10 show in Stockholm, Sweden.
The clip features two stick-insect-like bicycle riders -- with four limbs rather than six, we'll admit -- clad in psychedelic colours and navigating a real public park. That was the biggest challenge, says PepperMelon's creative director Tomas Garcia, who directed the spot. "It was our first live shoot. We were quite impressed by the results: we got all the footage we needed one afternoon, with just a longboard and a glidecam," he says.
"The second most challenging part was the schedule: we only had a month to produce everything," he adds.
Fortunately MTV gave them a very open brief. "They just wanted something fresh and unique and that represented the MTV culture," Tomas says.
So why the stick-insect characters, who not only cycle but appear to have gliding jellyfish tagging along behind them? If you've leafed through the hilarious Not A Toy, the recent book from Berlin character-art specialists Pictoplasma, featuring humans got up as anything from snowflakes to giant lemons climbing ladders, you might think there's something of Not A Toy's Dadaist ludicrousness in Pepper Melon's clip - and you'd be right.
"We were inspired by Not A Toy," Tomas explains. "We wanted to use the weirdest characters without losing details that make possible for them to communicate and help us to tell a nice story. As we didn't have much time to render and composite, we thought it would be better to go for a surreal look for the final mood."
Looking to the future, PepperMelon is concentrating on developing their own trademark characters that will stand the company in good stead as intellectual property. "We think it's all about diversifying, searching for where our characters are needed and where they can work. It doesn't just have to be animated series or commercials," Tomas says. Among other projects, PepperMelon is also looking for partners with which to develop apps, he reveals.