Sunday, February 07, 2010

ATH: Super Bowl Winner? Matt Hunnicutt!

Area native airs 2 Super Bowl commercials
By Conor Harrison, The Daily Times, Published February 6, 2010

When he was a kid, Kerrville native Matt Hunnicutt always dreamt of playing in the Super Bowl.

He’s come closer than most.

Hunnicutt, a 1994 graduate of Tivy High School, is the senior producer in charge of Nike and Coca-Cola at the firm Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, Ore.

His first commercial ran during the Super Bowl in 2008. Titled “It’s Mine,” it featured Charlie Brown and characters from Fox’s show “Family Guy” as large parade balloons that broke free of their strings and floated after a Coke bottle. That commercial was named best Super Bowl commercial of the decade by Adweek.

Last year, Hunnicutt won an Emmy for best commercial of the year for “Heist,” a commercial featuring insects teaming together to steal a Coke from a picnic.

This year, Hunnicutt produced two commercials set to air during the Super Bowl.

The first, “Hard Times,” features Coke and The Simpsons.

“Our idea was to have The Simpsons’ legendary billionaire Montgomery Burns lose all his money, only to find what’s most important in life are simple things like sharing a Coke and being with friends and family,” Hunnicutt said. “We presented it to the Simpsons and they loved it. It was an amazing experience sitting in the same room as Simpsons founders Matt Groening and Jim Brooks tossing around ideas.”

The second ad, “Sleepwalker,” was more difficult to produce.

“We had to re-create an area north of Los Angeles to look like the plains of Africa,” he said. “We filmed all the action in October and November, and took a couple months after that to do the special effects. We used some computer generated animals and a real leopard, elephants and hyena on the shoot to make it all happen. We also altered some of the landscape with special effects so it didn’t look too Californian. The story is about a guy who sleepwalks out of his tent on a safari in Africa and unknowingly braves the dangers of the wild on his way to get a drink.”

Some of the highlights of producing the commercials was working with great musicians; Hans Zimmer omposed the music for “Hard Times” and Hunnicutt re-arranged a classical march, Bolero, by Ravel in “Sleepwalker.”

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