This job is another example of the occasional one where the artwork never ends up being used. That’s rare in publication work but not to rare in advertising. Ad agencies will often work up multiple campaigns for the same product to a final or almost final level and then the client decides which one to use. This was one of those jobs.
This project was for Hardee’s restaurants circa 2009, and was art for an ad promotion for their newest sandwich offering… the “Philly Cheesesteak Thickburger”. It is a giant hamburger topped with cheesesteak fixings on one bun… not for a light lunch. The ad was supposed to be like a MAD “Fold-In” concept… something I’ve seen other companies like Dodge do in the past so I knew it was not unprecedented. The thing that concerned me was that the Hardee’s people might want me to copy Al Jaffee‘s style of artwork, which I would absolutely refuse to do. When I raised the issue with them, they said they wanted me to draw like me, and just to design the layout in a way that the folded version showed the results they wanted. Freed from the worry of having to ape another artist’s style, I accepted the job.
Let me tell you, I did not think it possible to have more respect than I already had for Al Jaffee but I was mistaken. It’s a real puzzle having to design and execute a single illustration so that is shows a different scene when folded properly… especially when the idea is to keep the final results hidden until the folding happens. I’m not sure I was very successful at the surprise ending part, as what I needed to illustrate was pretty hard to disguise, but I had my try at it.
Here’s the initial rough-
The way it worked best was to do a very rough sketch of the basic full scene, then to draw the two halves in their folded position first. Then using an exacto I cut the folded image along the fold and pasted them to a fresh sheet of paper with the appropriate distance between. Then I just started drawing the image in between, changing the outsides as needed without messing with the important parts.
I did not ink this one, as a softer feel is crucial to getting it to work. You need to be able to make the viewer think something one object when it is also part of something else. Hard lines make that difficult. So, I scanned the pencil, loaded it up into Photoshop and commenced a’paintin’. It took me about 12 hours to get it finished. Here’s what the final looks like open:
And folded in:
This ad was suppposed to appear in Rolling Stone, Maxim and other similar magazines where the main demographic includes meat-eating men. However shortly after I finished the art the AD on the project said due to scaled back ad budgets they did not run this piece in print but instead used it for an internal incentive program. C’est la vie. Still got paid the full amount.
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