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Sehsucht Cheers Up T-Rex For Audi, Tops VFX/Animation Chart
Florian Zachau
A dinosaur’s rise from ridicule to life in the fast lane

In the automated driving arena, Audi has built its reputation through impressive demonstrations of its technology. In 2009, a driverless Audi TTS traced the famous four rings into the surface of a salt lake; one year later it mastered the legendary winding road at Pikes Peak. And in 2014, a piloted RS 7 Sportback pushed the limits of driving physics as it completed its laps on the Hockenheimring racetrack. 

Now, though, Audi has taken a strategic marketing detour to tout its piloted driving prowess as digital agency Razorfish Germany has gone from emphasizing technology and performance to a tongue-in-cheek mix of comedy and emotion embodied in the unlikely form of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, regarded as the fiercest, most dangerous dinosaur to ever walk the planet. 

But fast forward to today and because of its short arms, the T-Rex has become a laughing stock on social media as depicted in this video titled “#TheComeback” directed by Stephan Weaver of Stink in Berlin with visual effects/CGI animation from Sehsucht in Hamburg. Particularly damning to the dinosaur is an online post of him trying to make his bed—to no avail as his arms aren’t long enough to properly do the deed.

Reduced from king of the beasts on Earth to a running gag on the web, T-Rex becomes listless and despondent. He doesn’t even like to appear in public due to the laughter and derision he often encounters. T-Rex talks openly for the first time about how this humiliation has impacted him, resulting in a crippling identity crisis.

However all it takes for T-Rex to go from disconsolate to returning to life in the proverbial fast lane is the freedom of sporting about in an Audi with its new piloted driving system. 

“With ‘#TheComeback’ Audi has allowed us to create a work that not only picks up on a popular internet meme, but also adds a new dimension to it. This shows the brand’s great understanding and enthusiasm for social media”, said Sascha Martini, CEO of Razorfish Germany.

Emotional challenge
Sehsucht handled all visual effects on the film. Florian Zachau, head of VFX at Sehsucht, described the biggest challenge of the project in terms of the animation: “The biggest challenge was to make the dinosaur look depressed. A T-Rex is a rather stiff character and there is not a lot of variety on expression and gestures the animators could use in order to bring out the sadness. The interview-scene in particular what not easy. There is a very thin line between making it look natural rather than awkward. “

Noting that shifting from focusing on technology to “a completely different emotional side” with this campaign, Michael Finke, head of the international creative department at Audi AG, related, “With the T-Rex meme, Razorfish has found the perfect angle for this.”

“#TheComeback” film is running on Audi’s social platforms and is part of a viral campaign to introduce Audi’s latest piloted driving technology.
The Razorfish creative team included executive creative director Preethi Mariappan, creative director/copywriter Felix Stock, copywriters Anna Dressler and Fay Kornmeier, and strategy director Kathrin Dariz.