Meet Gavin: Artem SFX create Asda’s characterful gnome who’s fast acquiring a celebrity profile

Artem SFX, an award-winning physical special effects company, has recently been commissioned by VCCP to create a set of characterful garden gnomes for Asda’s highly-successful ‘Beat Not Match’ campaign.

Final-Asda-Beat-Not-Match-advert-with-Gavin-the-Gnome-constructed-by-ArtemThe recent campaign for Asda, produced by VCCP, opens on three archetypal garden gnomes, representing rival supermarkets. As Shaggy’s 1995 hit single Boombastic begins to play, a fourth gnome, portraying Asda, floats across a pond on a lilo, wearing a mankini and drinking a cocktail. Meanwhile a voiceover explains the supermarket’s price promise. Meet Gavin the Gnome, who’s become an internet celebrity with a popular following on Facebook and Twitter since the campaign launch on 22 May 2014.

Artem began the sculpting process after an initial meeting with campaign director Steve Bendelack, art director Kevin Phipps and Matt Hynds and Liam Wilson from VCCP’s creative team. Gavin then evolved at the hands of Artem senior sculpture Stan Mitchel, eventually transforming into the handsome fellow seen on TV screens and poster boards across the country.

In order to animate the gnomes, Artem created two sets of the gnomes representing other supermarkets. The first set of gnomes adopt a traditional fishing posture, while the second continue to fish with shocked expressions. Gavin the Gnome, meanwhile, required three interchangeable heads with different expressions. The gnomes were initially hand-sculpted before being moulded and cast in fibreglass and finally hand-painted.

As part of the campaign, Artem were also commissioned to make a small lilo for Gavin to float on. The replica inflatable lilo was created with patterns made in Artem’s state-of-the-art CNC machining centre before being transferred to their vacuum-forming machine to create a crystal-clear floating object. The lilo was finally painted neon pink in Artem’s walk-in heated spray booth and delivered to the company’s nautical engineering department to test for buoyancy and stability prior to the shoot.

Working to a tight deadline, this work was completed within two weeks, culminating in a studio shoot. The final campaign can be watched online: www.youtube.com/watch? v=UiHDB-6NNDU

In this follow-up campaign, Gavin emerges dramatically from the pond like a perfume model. In addition to building a new body, Artem constructed new alternative heads and also built a suitable water tank for stills shots which took place in Artem’s back lot at their studios in Perivale. The campaign is available online: www.youtube.com/watch? v=k5qvNUvvkgo

Artem have previously worked on Asda’s Easter ‘Get down and boogie with #AsdaChick’ commercial with VCCP. The campaign opens with a row of chicks in regular bird houses (representing competitor supermarkets) before panning across to a superior construction and a chick that dances to Funkytown by Lipps Inc. On this project, Artem built fake chicken feet and small wooden houses for the chicks to live in. This highly successful campaign has had nearly 250,000 views on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJcTnMBe_W8

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