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Calabash Helps Mobile Gaming Platform Signal Zero ‘Defend Your Throne’


New Online Animated Spot For Tap Rival Makes A Scatological Splash.

Playing mobile games in the bathroom at the office is probably not a good idea for a lot of reasons, including the chance of an exploding toilet due to resounding defeat at the hands of your opponent. Such is the scenario depicted in a new animated online spot by Calabash for Signal Zero, the San Francisco-based company focused on helping gamers make money playing games, and its new Tap Rival mobile gaming platform.

According to Signal Zero CEO Tobias Batton, Tap Rival is essentially a mobile gaming portal where users can play an array of mobile games, compete with others online and earn points that can redeemed for gift cards and cash. The new animated spot, entitled “Defend Your Throne,” which will be seen on Facebook, YouTube and numerous online gaming sites, highlights one of Tap Rivals’ key components: the ability for players to compete head-to-head.

“Our audience watches animated shows like ‘Rick & Morty,’ ‘Gravity Falls’ and ‘Family Guy’ and Calabash has a real gift for capturing that late 80s-early 90s animation style,” Batton says. “But beyond their animation skills, we can see that the ads help convert sales very well. Our marketing is working and Calabash is a big part of that. The ads are funny, they gets people’s attention and have made a difference in our bottom line.”

Potty Humor:
Marking the second time Calabash has collaborated with Signal Zero, “Defend Your Throne” brings the term “potty humor” to literal heights. The spot opens with close-ups of two females engaged in a heated mobile game battle. Amid gaseous bodily sounds and a whir of bleeps and pings from their mobile phones, their online clash grows in intensity.

Suddenly, the POV pulls back revealing that both women are actually sitting next to each other in adjacent bathroom stalls. The spot crescendos with the losing player screaming as her toilet explodes in a mass of ick, while the winner’s stall literally rains dollars as a heavenly light shines down.

Stylistically, says Calabash Creative Director Wayne Brejcha, they went for a look that emphasized simple figures with cartoony shapes and bold outlines, which, given the fast-pace of the spot, helped give viewers an immediate sense of their personalities, while providing a visual platform for the super outrageous.

2D Expressions:
“Because there is just the one location, and the camera does not move much, we went with a series of quick cuts from one character to the other and the intensity increases building to the explosive ending,” Brejcha says. “For us the challenge involved capturing the character’s expressions in a strictly 2D world. We also focused a lot on the pacing so you get the reveal that these two women are not just next to each other but also in the bathroom. There was a lot of fine-tuning with nuances of eye squints and the speed of their thumbs tapping like crazy on their phones. For the explosion we had to get the color and texture just right, we were going for over-the-top but wanted to stay in a stylistic range.”

Calabash Executive Producer Sean Henry adds, “One of the reasons the spot works was thanks to the thoughtful and efficient direction from Tobias and Signal Zero Co-Founder/Designer Nathan Christie. “They had the character design to within 90 percent of final for us. We kept laughing at how far they wanted to push the finale. Usually with ads we have to dial everything back, but with this one we dialed forward to the redline.”





Creative Credits:
Client: Signal Zero
Project: “Tap Rival” (:30)

Agency: Signal Zero (in-house), San Francisco, CA
CEO: Tobias Batton
Co-Founder/Designer: Nathan Christie

Animation/Post: Calabash, Chicago, IL
Creative Director: Wayne Brejcha
Executive Producer: Sean Henry

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Nature Valley Has Fun-Filled Battle of the Sexes Tennis Match with Johanna Konta and Pat Cash


To celebrate the inclusivity of tennis and as part of Nature Valley’s commitment to driving participation in tennis in Britain, Nature Valley, one of UK’s leading cereal bar brands and official partner of British Tennis, created a full size tennis court in Westfield Shopping Centre, Shepherd’s Bush, and invited tennis champions, celebrities, social media influencers, and the general public, to get on court and play more tennis.

In the match-up, British women’s No 1 and Nature Valley brand ambassador Johanna Konta faced off former Wimbledon champion and ATP legend Pat Cash. This match was inspired by the iconic Billie Jean King vs Bobby Riggs ‘Battle of the Sexes’ 1973 match re-told in the film by Fox Searchlight Pictures of the same name in-cinema 24th November starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell, for which Nature Valley is the sole promotional partner of the UK theatrical launch.

Konta’s winning mentality and impressive fitness ultimately saw her defeat Cash 6-3 in a one-set shoot staying true to the historical event script, but not before both players had gained some help from umpire and compere and ex-British #1 Greg Rusedski, and some willing ball boys and girls joining in the match.

After the main match, TV personalities Jamie Laing and Jessica Wright joined to support Konta and Cash on court for a fun-filled Battle of the Sexes mixed doubles before opening the court for players from the general public to get involved in their own ‘battle of the sexes’ rendition. Old and young, skilled and less so, fit and not, the impactful and impressive court hosted many a match throughout the day with tennis being the winner.

The court was recreated by Nature Valley as part of its wider campaign The Court is Yours – aimed at getting more people back into playing tennis. The event aimed to showcase how tennis can be played in a number of unexpected locations. The activity has been created and managed by creative agency Space.

Arjoon Bose, UK and Northern Europe Marketing Lead for Nature Valley at General Mills, said: “Tennis is the 2nd most followed sport in Britain with participation on the rise and it’s one of the most exciting times to be involved with it here in Britain. Following on from launching our first ever integrated campaign #TheCourtIsYours this summer, we wanted to elevate and amplify our tennis conversation through the storytelling lens of this movie partnership with ‘Battle of the Sexes’ paying tribute to a landmark event that championed inclusivity and democracy in a sport that we are proud to support here. With the support of an inspirational role model spokesperson like Johanna, we hope to continue to inspire anyone and everyone to go out and to move people from watching to playing because we believe tennis is for everyone and that every surface is a court. Our dream is to eventually have a Nature Valley protein bar in every tennis kit in Britain.’’

David Atkinson, Managing Partner, Space comments: “This experience epitomises what Nature Valley, and The Court is Yours is all about. Whilst Cash vs Konta brought focus to the event through the Battle of the Sexes Crunch Match for the partnership with the movie launch later this week, today was also about showing people that anyone can play tennis, anytime, anywhere, and at any time of the year. It’s been a great privilege to be part of it, and to have collaborated with Nature Valley in their mission with the LTA in bringing more people into tennis.”

Nature Valley was also the Official Global Partner of last week’s ATP World Tour Finals, where it saw increased attention around the O2-centred end of season championships involving the top eight ranked male tennis players in the world and the opportunity to remind fans to pick up a racket and play.





About Space
At Space, we believe that people always have a choice when it comes to brands - including the choice to ignore them. We see consumer indifference as an opportunity - helping to move people beyond apathy to actively choose our clients’ brands. We bring people closer by helping them understand the role a brand can play in their lives. We create deeper and more valued relationships with consumers by putting them first, understanding them, making them feel special, and making their lives better. We call this “building brand intimacy”. Our approach fuels creativity that moves people emotionally wherever a brand needs to connect with them, whether that is via social, on mobile, outdoor, in store, on pack, in print, live or virtually. We’ve moved people to choose brands such as Heineken, Arla Foods, William Grant & Sons, General Mills, Eurostar, Sky, Coral, Bundesliga, UEFA, NBA and AELTC. Our work has been globally recognised with four ‘best in the world’ awards. But the ultimate winners are our clients, because the more intimate their brand becomes, the more people will choose them. Find out more at www.agencyspace.co.uk


About General Mills
Founded in 1866, General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, which operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2016 global net sales of US $17.6 billion. General Mills UK is an award-winning employer that markets and distributes a number of much-loved consumer brands – including Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Nature Valley, Green Giant, Betty Crocker, Fibre One and Jus-Rol pastry.
Yoplait UK is an affiliate of General Mills and is responsible for major brands such as Petits Filous, Liberté and Super Fruitii.

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