Stop-Motion Gains Speed
March 27, 2006
By Theresa Piti

Wallace and Gromit
A businessman tucks his boy into bed before taking off on a business trip. As the son drifts to sleep, the father's flight takes on Arthurian proportions in his dream. He flies off on a giant bird, and as his associates—knights at a round table, in a forest setting—discuss their affairs, a fire-breathing dragon attacks. The father draws his sword and slays the dragon in a dramatic climax. He flies back triumphant, and when he returns home, again in his suit and tie, he carries a toy dragon.

The eye-catching and emotional epic, which broke during the Super Bowl, is the latest in United's Emmy Award-winning animated "It's Time to Fly" campaign. While previous ads such as "Interview" and "Rose" have been created using 2-D, hand-drawn-style animation, "Dragon" is a departure for the two-year-old campaign and the creative team at Fallon in Minneapolis. The spot was created using stop-motion animation. And rather than employing the most well-known stop-motion technique, clay, it uses paper cutouts instead.