San Diego Zoo Brings The Party With Africa Rocks



Combining an animal exhibition at one of the world’s most famous zoo’s, with 1970’s & 80’s rock aesthetics, isn’t a pairing you’d instantly land on. But that’s exactly where M&C Saatchi LA and Gentleman Scholar took us for Africa Rocks.

The campaign centres around 6 hero animals and their accompanying habitats. Each habitat was then paired with a particular rock style and aesthetic of the period, creating 6 uniquely formed, 15 second animation sequences. Gentleman Scholar dove deep into the nostalgia of the period, pulling reference from retro music videos, MTV logo ID’s and Liquid Television animations. The aim was to portray the nostalgic styles accurately with all the gusto and excitement that went into researching the iconic looks. 

The animation process began with some intensely detailed storyboarding and an equally huge amount of style frames - nearly one for every frame in one of the sequences, which is huge. However this attention to detail at the very outset saw for an easier transition into animation, which was already complicated by the variety techniques. 2D, 3D, cell animation and claymation were all used to create the rapid fire sequence detailing neon blazing penguins, a crocodile on an acid trip and the ultimate, a crowd surfing baboon. The result is a wonderfully playful and seamless sequence that operates together as a single brand film, and individually as a teaser campaign. As well as the animation, over 30 difference San Diego Zoo and Africa Rocks 90’s-styled logos were created for the campaign, adding a considerable breadth to the project.

The result is an incredibly rich tapestry of nostalgic rock aesthetics that is fun, brilliantly designed and animated. Gentleman Scholar have put together an impressive page on the project. Head here to check it all out.