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ESPN

TV Ratings 101

The Project: ESPN was looking for a way to make the explanation of how the TV ratings systems works simple and interesting—at least engaging enough to keep the audience awake. With direction to create something reminiscent of “Schoolhouse Rock,” meets “Sesame Street,” JESS3 created a five-minute animation with an old-school, 1970’s ESPN SportsCenter vibe to walk viewers through the television ratings process.

Our Methodology: We began by breaking down the process into an uncomplicated, easy-to-understand script. We then decided to add some spice with a fun theme, as well as some humor to keep the audience interested. In a last-minute creative lighting bolt, our motion team came up with the brilliant idea to use puppets, along with papercut, to really give it that nostalgic “Sesame Street” feel. Once we had these elements in place, our set designers got to work building the various sets, creating the hundreds of papercut pieces, and modifying the puppets. After the VO was recorded, we worked with professional puppeteers who tracked the VO with the ESPN puppets. Finally, it was all brought together under the creative direction of motion creative director and the many hard-working team members.

Behind The Scenes: We wanted to showcase how much hard work goes into the video from ideation to creating and dressing the puppets, to drawing and cutting the paper cut outs to photographing and animating them. We spoke with our puppet maker, paper artist, set designer, our VP of Production and Art Director to get the full picture.

The Results: A fun, kitschy-yet-entertaining journey through the way in which television ratings are calculated. The video transports the viewer back to the set of ESPN SportsCenter in the 1970s, where it looks as if nothing has been changed since that time. Two macho, mildly self-obsessed with a touch of Anchorman-esque news anchors, Chip and Clay, take the viewer through the ratings process using a series of visual aids and animations.

Client Reaction: This was the most fun my team has had in a while. We’re always trying to make seemingly dry topics come to life in fun yet simple ways, and JESS3 helped us bring “TV Ratings 101” to life in a completely original way. It was a collaborative process from the start and the final product is even better than we could have imagined. Chip, Clay, and Baxter may become ESPN’s favorite new “employees”.

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