Hornet director Yves Geleyn has teamed up with Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister & Walsh to create their newest campaign, “Love Story,” from India based Frooti. Walsh and the people of Frooti, “trusted us enough to let us really have fun with the story,” Geleyn told us. “The only real ask was to create a narrative that would work in the already established poppy and slightly absurd world of Frooti. The process is always better when a client is also creative and isn’t afraid to push the brand’s voice.”

This was Hornet’s second campaign with Frooti and global superstar Alia Bhatt so there was already a core understanding of the visual language. Still, Geleyn wanted to infuse a simple sweetness that bordered on absurdity in the look and story while finding a clever way to incorporate Alia, their engaging brand ambassador. Thus they settled on a charming love story theme.

“Once we had our love story sorted, we built the set and the props. At the same time we had to R&D a few scenes. How will the ‘ice’ be built, how will the mango peel etc…To save time we modeled the characters and all of their stop motion increments in CG and 3D printed each and every one before hand painting them to give them the crafty, organic, hand made feel.”

The project aws truly a worldwide collaboration from Mumbai to San Francisco, united via NYC. A traditional stop motion technique was utilized incorporating 3D printed and hand-painted figurines, and animated at Hornet’s Brooklyn stage. Alia Bhatt’s live action portion was shot in Bulgaria, and had to be judiciously shot with placement references for the hillside and props (as all the sets were also built and shot in Brooklyn.)

“As we were shooting the stop motion at our Brooklyn stage,” Geleyn explained, “we were also shooting the live action with Alia Bhatt on the other side of the world in Bulgaria at the same time. Because of scheduling issues we had to direct her virtually and sent a crew over to help match what we were doing in NY to her acting and overall placement on set. We had a great team in place so it ended up being very successful and pretty painless. Alia is a pro, so that also helped!

“We comped seamlessly the 2 different shoots in post-production at our NY studio. I really loved playing with these different animation techniques to make something fresh and unique but also learning more about Indian culture and working to make this spot resonate as authentically as possible with its audience.”

In addition to a tight schedule, the marrying of Alia’s live action to the stop motion proved challenging here. “If her eye lines didn’t match up or the timing of her reactions was off, it could have really effected the end result. I have to say, Alia was amazing to work with. She was patient and really made the acting look easy and natural take after take. She was a huge part of the success and problem solving of this part of the production.”

For more on the making of this piece, check out the BTS footage below and get answers to questions like, how did they get the cat to perform?