Yoga Rice recently introduced an animated spokesperson for their organic light brown rice: Jess, a mother and fitness aficionado who tweets, blogs, and otherwise holds court on the company's social media outlets. She and her somewhat sardonic canine companion and confidante, Ward, were created for the company by Beegee Tolpa.
As Rob Heider, Yoga Rice's brand director, explains, “The main goal was to create a brand character to represent what it means to 'Live Yoganic one grain at a time.' We are using Jess and her dog Ward to inform moms about the benefits of rice [and] Jess' blog and her confession to her dog to demonstrate an approachable, balanced healthy lifestyle.” (Check out the video blogs at Yoga Rice's YouTube channel.)
Beegee says she responded right away to the company's branding, calling it “hip and fashionable but also accessible to a wide audience” (not, incidentally, unlike her own clean and colorful aesthetic). “The color scheme for Jess and Ward came directly from their packaging, which is yellow and turquoise.”
Whizzbang Studios handled the creative direction of the project from concept through production, and Beegee appreciated the direction she was given. “They were very specific,” she says. “I sort of loved that they had a complete profile on Jess: age, hobbies, socio-economic demographic. They put a lot of effort into creating her personality.”
Beegee had never had her work animated in this particular way before. “They wanted Jess to be sitting but to have a lot of different facial expressions,” she says. “I had to create layers of facial expressions—different eyes, mouths, and so on—so they could create combinations of features and turn them on and off as necessary.” Getting Ward's personality just right was equally important. He is also animated, and, as Beegee notes, “He has to convey human emotions through dog features, and that's very challenging. Whizzbang wanted to make sure his ears could have a lot of ways to be expressive.”
Says Rob, “Beegee was great working with to develop a character that we believe is likable and relatable to moms seeking a healthy lifestyle for herself and family.”
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