EASY BUCKS, EASY COLLABORATION
We recently collaborated with Joe Public and Egg Films on the hilarious Chicken Licken ‘EasyBucks’ campaign directed by Adrian de se Garces.
The three spots highlight the truly unbelievable price point (30 bucks!) of the Chicken Licken EasyBucks meals by depicting completely absurd situations that go almost unnoticed by the characters, who are more shocked by the unbelievable deals than what is happening around them.
We took a Sound Design led approach to the entire campaign, using sound effects to bring these crazy scenarios to life and elevate the humour. We handled both the Music and Audio for the campaign here at Pressure Cooker Studios. We really feel that there is so much value in handling both of these disciplines under one roof, as it allows closer creative collaboration (internally and with the Agency and Production House) and the ability to make decisions fast when working together to amplify the storytelling.
Music was only meant to play a diegetic sound role in each spot (coming from within the world of our characters e.g a radio or tv), with the Sound Design supporting the already strong visuals and performance. For ‘Hot Wings’ we even decided in the final mix not to use music at all, except for over the titles as the film felt stronger without it once the sound design was complete.
“Having Music and Audio handled under one roof really helped with the craft of these spots, adding to the comedy and bringing them to life in an unbelievable way. Just like the concept.”
Gareth O’Callaghan – Creative Director, Joe Public
What better way to get more insight into the campaign than from hearing from members of our creativehub themselves. So we asked our composers and engineers to dig deep into their creative writing skills and tell us a little more about the three films that make up this comedic campaign.
Composer Elben Schutte talks us through ‘Popcorn Chicken’ and ‘Slyder’, and Sound Engineer and Composer Keith Kavayi unpacks his approach to the Sound Design across all the spots:
Music on Chicken Licken EasyBucks by Elben Schutte:
We set about creating a ‘world music’ track to set the scene in the heart of rural South Africa and transport you through the radio player and straight into a bakkie driving along a dusty, pot-hole filled road. The track needed to feel both authentic and nostalgic, to support the comedy of the scene as well as tap into local music flavours.
The challenge was to compose our own original song that felt very genuine and complemented the performance of the two characters in the bakkie. This authenticity was key to enhancing the humour and absurdity of the situation. In collaboration with the talented local songwriter Jabulani Majolo, we embarked on a mission to compose a jubilant anthem, a melodious duet that intertwines the joyful voices of a male and female vocalist.
The fusion of enchanting vocals and captivating textures creates an irresistible tapestry of sound that immerses the viewer in the story.
Think Afro jazz ballade, reminiscent of a golden-oldie playing on a weathered car radio. This musical masterpiece captures the essence of nostalgia and invites the audience to join the two characters as they momentarily escape their daily grind, indulging in the delectable delights of Chicken Licken Slyders, for only 30 bucks!
The true essence of this track lies in its vocals, which create a simple yet beautifully melancholic crooner tune. Guided by the creative prowess of talented songwriter Jabulani Majolo, we eagerly sought the perfect voice to bring our vision to life. With the extraordinary talents of Masakhane Sotayise in our soundproof studio booth, our aspirations quickly materialised into reality.
As with ‘Popcorn Chicken’, the ‘Slyders’ track is diegetic, really setting the scene and contrasting the absurd situation playing out on screen.
Sound Design on EasyBucks by Keith Kavayi:
What makes these ads unique for me is their use of sound as the comedic tool and music playing a diegetic sound role. The visuals and performances were already so good, and we had the challenge of pushing the boundaries with Sound Design to elevate the comedy even further. The real challenge for me came when I was handed the reins for sound design across all three ads. Thank goodness for the amazing team at Joe Public, and the director Adrian from Egg Films. Their input and feedback was super invaluable as fellow collaborators. I literally recorded every brief and every review as audio to make sure all my note-taking bases were covered and that I met all their expectations from the beginning.
Their mission throughout the entire campaign was simple: “Make the sounds enhance the comedy!”
So every sound I crafted had to serve that purpose. From the splattering dust debris on the concrete floor, to the zany laser sounds zooming past the satellite dish installers, all the way to a bear hitch-hiking in a rickety old bakkie driven by a couple of dudes in the middle of nowhere. It was a hilarious audio adventure!
If I had to pick a favourite it would have to be the Slyders ad with the lazers. It was fun creating the montage of the laser rebounding off random objects, making it’s way into space then back to earth and transforming poor Joe into a Slyders meal, to then be consumed by his hungry work mates (maybe I just like dark comedy).
The Popcorn Chicken ad was an extremely fun challenge. I had to get so many noisy sounds to work together with the music and dialogue. The internal rattling inside the truck and the backfires of the exhaust, all had to be balanced to not conflict with the grunts of the bear and the music playing from the old distorted car radio. So you could say the truck itself was its own character. Needless to say I had many head-scratching moments trying to figure it all out. But we all walked away very happy with the final outcome.
“We knew EasyBucks was a bit odd when we briefed it in. ‘Heroing’ sound design over music is something that we never think of doing in the work that we put out.”
Gareth O’Callaghan – Creative Director Joe Public
Chicken Licken EasyBucks got recognised for Best in Craft for both Direction and Editing on I Did That. Read more about that here.
If you know a little bit about us here at Pressure Cooker Studios, you know that we love collaborating with Chicken Licken and their bold advertising concepts.
We got to work on the epic Ya’Hunga Forever campaign, which spoofed Marvel’s Wakanda Forever feature film. Read more here.