Computer Animation/Film/VFX

Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

Branded Dreams

Studio Smack (NL)



"The real question is not: How many ads do we see? The real question is: What do we have to do to see no ads? And the answer is: go to sleep" (James B. Twitchell)

We see ads everyday and everywhere. They have become part of our life. While some people try to avoid seeing ads, advertisers keep finding new ways to reach us. However, they are unable to reach us when we sleep. Our dreams are the last safe and ad-free place, or so it seems. But what happens when advertisers have the possibility to enter our dreams? Based on recent developments in brain science and technology this might be possible in the near future. This animated short is an impression of a dream manipulated by a brand we all know.

Starting point

Ten years ago we made a Typo-Animation called Kapitaal (2005), which displayed a clear impression of the enormous amount of advertising we see every day. A black and white world stripped bare of everything except corporate identities and signage. This showed that we have a continuous flow of advertisement messages around us from the moment we wake until we go to sleep.

A year ago Mieke Gerritzen, director of MOTI, Museum of the Image (currently known as Stedelijk Museum Breda), asked us if we could do a sequel to that movie. During that time, we stumbled upon a scientific experiment by the University of California in which scientists were able to record your dreams and play them back to you. Through an MRI machine they were able to capture and reconstruct your dreams.

We figured that if you can extract images from the sleeping brain, and if this technology gets developed further, eventually there must be a way to put imagery into our dreams. So then we decided to tell a 'Science Faction' story in which this technology actually exists. We would take on the role of future advertisers and design the first ever sponsored dream.

Producing the animation

It took us about a year to finish the animation. We weren't working full-time on it, because we also had other projects going on. So it kind of became a labor of love project. We also tried to avoid most clichés that we know of dream sequences in movies, which meant we had to re-invent a new trippy dream world. We mostly worked on it at night and on the weekends, experimenting and figuring out the look and feel of the movie. I estimate we threw away more than 90% of all the shots and experiments we did.


Some of the shifty in-between shots consist of manipulated stock footage. But most of the shots you see were made in Cinema 4D. All the animals you see were free models downloaded from the internet. We gave them new textures, deformed them, gave them new rig bone structures, or just used deformers to make it seem as if they were alive. Most of the trees and plants you see were scanned in our local park with point cloud scanning software and placed in the scenes later on.

Audio Design

We wanted the sound edit to be the make-up of the movie that tells the viewer that they are looking at a trippy dream. So we started with a continuous drone sound as a base layer and built everything on top of that. We recorded lots of sounds that are related to Coca Cola or carbonated drinks in general. Like sparkling bubbles, cans opening, water drops, burps et cetera. We played around with those sounds until they sounded deformed and subliminal. Then we welded everything together to an eclectic mosaic of subliminal sound messages. If you listen closely you can hear whispered words from some of the famous Coca Cola slogans like: 'Fresh', 'Enjoy' or 'The Real Thing'.


Studio Smack

Studio Smack (NL) are Ton Meijdam, Thom Snels, and Béla Zsigmond. All three of them studied at the AKV|St.Joost in Breda (Art Academy). Their animated films have gained awards at international film festivals. Studio Smack produces work that in the first analysis has an autonomous value, but often also responds to developments in society, the so-called Design for Debate. Ton Meijdam (NL) graduated in 2002 from the Academy of Fine Arts St. Joost, Breda, where he studied graphic design. Thom Snels (NL) graduated in 2003 from the Academy of Fine Arts St.Joost, Breda, where he studied animation. Béla Zsigmond (HU) graduated in 2004 from the Academy of Fine Arts St.Joost, Breda, where he studied graphic design.

Concept, Design, Animation, (Art)Direction, Audio Design: Studio Smack (NL)
Additional Audio Design: Tijnn Verbruggen (NL)
Commissioned by Stedelijk Museum Breda and Dropstuff