The founders of Plenty, a Buenos Aires-based studio, say that one of the company’s best qualities is that it just won’t sit still. It will forever keep growing, expanding and learning – defining themselves not with a specific aesthetic but instead with an open-minded, meticulous strategy to each and every single part of the creative process.
The design and motion animation studio was founded in 2010 by Art Director Pablo Alfieri and Motion Director Mariano Farias, two creatives who had worked together previously as freelancers in Argentina. Since then, Plenty has added two more partners to the group, Producer Ines Palmas and Lead Animator Hernan Estevez, steadily growing with its number of clients on both the advertising and TV branding sides of its business.
Plenty has racked up more than 10 PromaxBDA Awards in less than five years, boasting award-winning work for a long list of international clients that includes MTV, Fox and AXN.
MTV was also Plenty’s very first client for one of its most-awarded projects, MTV Bicentenario. The animated spot was created for MTV Latin America, launched in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Colombia to celebrate the countries’ 200 years.
Alfieri and Farias say that this was a big undertaking, and not only because of its historical magnitude. “It was a challenge because we were a small team that had just started to work in the field of 3D and many things related to realism, which was not our forte,” they said, adding that this spot allowed the two of them to introduce themselves to the TV marketing community. “We felt that at this point we could say ‘Hi, we are Plenty and we have come to do nice things!’”
And while its work with MTV made it well known for its 3D animation, the folks at Plenty wanted to spread out their talents into other spheres so that it could never be pigeonholed into just one style. “Unlike other studios,” said Alfieri, “we don’t believe that we have an aesthetic style that defines us, but more a way of doing things, or a specific palette of loud colors that we can use to our advantage.”
The partners say their focus is much more on the creative process than the specific style they use throughout it. “We are hands on,” added Alfieri. “We don’t skip any stage. We like to go through everything starting with storyboard, animation, sketches. It helps us understand the full process and learn from every step.”
“It’s not just something pretty,” said Palmas. “We want to make a story, something that reflects their point of view.”
For example, Plenty worked with FunJob on a series of idents for Nickelodeon, where they mixed techniques – starting with traditional animation, finishing with 360-degree 3D models – to attain a sophisticated but natural look. Alfieri says the project was “one in 100,” not only because countless clients have approached them since to create a spot similar to this one, but also because it helped define Plenty’s model of always making something new and never looking back.
“This one was a challenge, but this characterizes Plenty,” said Alfieri. “We don’t do a job the same as the one before, and making things that we don’t know how to make motivates us a lot.”
This is a common thread among Plenty’s work, collecting clients who rely on the studio to forever reinvent itself. The team enjoys mixing techniques and trying new things, from hand painting for AXN’s Criminal Minds campaign (above) to a complete redesign of Fox Life’s image, using playful colors and icons.
“We have lost count of the number of channels that have come to us after watching this branding,” said Alfieri. The partners call the Fox Life work its largest project to date, only partly because of its focus on animation, audio and editing all at once – it has also helped Plenty more than once when pitching for new clients.
The Discovery LATAM refresh looked very different from this bold, animated approach – it used live-action shots, 3D, VFX and some special effects with an emphasis on typography to reflect the idea of “getting your hands dirty.”
The refresh, according to the partners at Plenty, set out to humanize the channel that had found itself drawing away from its core audience. Image spots put the viewer’s perspective first, whether it’s trudging through the forest, fixing up an old car, getting through a 9-5 work day or finishing up a long shift at the ER.
Plenty called its 2014 rebrand for Canal+ Spain its “landmark project of the year,” which took on a more social focus, seeking to unite the popular broadcasters’ 14 channels.
They created a graphics package based on simple imagery of a speech bubble, then reached out to a very social fan base to create their own on-air bumpers through a dedicated app, branding a “channel 2.0,” according to Alfieri.
After wide-ranging branding projects like these, Plenty found itself with a wonderful problem: clients were coming out of the wood works to have the next Fox Life look or idents like Nickelodeon’s. But the group of creative at Plenty would never accept that. “Clients want we did before,” said Alfieri, “but we don’t want to copy ourselves.”