Chocolate Tribe animate hangry alien named ZeZorc for Chicken Licken

We pick the brains of Chocolate Tribe’s Rob van Den Bragt and Tiaan Franken about the galactic quest of bringing ZeZorc, the friendly animated alien (and his ‘hangry’ alter-ego), to life in Chicken Licken’s recent ‘They Also Crave It’ commercial.

Chocolate Tribe, who bring with them an internationally acclaimed combination of character animation and VFX skills, collaborated with the creative team from Joe Public United and Romance Films, under the direction of Terence Neale. We know, we know, when you see all those names together like that you can’t help but get excited about what you’re about to watch.

Chicken Licken ‘They Also Crave It’

The commercial is set in a Stranger Things inspired world where an adorable alien named ZeZorc becomes part of a human family. Using his superpowers for good, the family fall in love with the little critter, but ZeZorc can’t seem to satisfy his craving. When he comes face to face with some Chicken Licken takeaways, we find out the real reason he was hanging around. The family? ZeZorc basically tells them to cluck off by zapping them into an interdimensional portal, leaving the little wing-craver to satisfy his desires in peace.

Q: Okay, now satisfy our own craving how did you create the most adorably cute character? We want a ZeZorc!

Tiaan: You have to be so careful when you create brand new characters, especially in commercials, because you don’t have a lot of time. They have to be instantly likeable. So, we ended up combining elements of other iconic characters who are already known.
Rob: We ended up combining aspects of two of the most recognisable and loved characters, ET and Yoda, with a dash of our own inspiration.

IDIDTHAT: WHAAAAAAAAAAT *heads explode* Name a more iconic duo!? Wow, we can totally see it now!

Q: Okay, so technically how did you get ZeZorc to look like the lovechild of these two Hollywood superstars?

Rob: We did about 4 weeks of design on ZeZorc before we landed on our final alien creature and then it was about 3 months of animation work.
Tiaan: The team started by modeling and sculpting the 3D version of the concept drawing. We then added the wrinkles, skin pores and all those fine layers and detail until the little guy felt real. He had this amphibian-alien-human texture and texture was super important to us, especially when you looked at his eyes and skin closely, it had to look and feel real. The big eyes of course added the cute factor.
Rob: We went into such detail with ZeZorc – the pores, veins and even showing his organs and skeleton when you can see through his layers, which shows he is more alive than you think.

Chicken Licken Behind the Scenes

Q: Terence is such a master at what he does and we believe this was his first local production in almost four years, what was it like to collaborate with him?

Tiaan: It was a very collaborative process and we were able to get his input on every level of the animation and render tests. Terence also realised the value of having a bit more time to play around while creating a brand new character, especially one that is so expressive and layered as ZeZorc.

Q: What did it take to integrate ZeZorc into the live-action film part of the commercial?

Rob: A combination of great lighting, shading and texturing was critical when we were attempting to get the little creature integrated seamlessly into the live-action footage. Getting him to interact with that world makes it feel even more real, like when he walks through the glass door or where he’s trashed the pantry.

Q: What was the highlight of working on this?

Tiaan: As an animation and VFX house we are always excited when we get briefs that are beyond the ordinary, especially when it comes to aliens and sci-fi work. We totally geek out when projects like this one land on our doorstep.
Rob: This was a really wonderfully complex character exploration piece for us. Sometimes an ad flies past and you only have 10 seconds to flex your animation muscles, so it was great to really have the time to play. ZeZorc is a character with depth that you get to know and become attached to. We’ve fallen in love with him and really hope there will be more of ZeZorc in the future.

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Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

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This Editorial is paid for by The Chocolate Tribe. Want our studio to create content that puts your agency/company/kickass ad you made in bright lights for the whole industry to see? View or editorial packages or contact and we’ll make it happen! #Boom