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W+K Portland promotes Oregon and Portland with stop-action animation and robotic salmon

A fish wants you to come to Oregon. Just in time for the spring and summer travel season, Wieden + Kennedy Portland has come up with a handmade campaign to promote Travel Portland and Travel Oregon, complete with intricate and whimsical stop-motion animation and a talking robotic Chinook salmon.

With ‘You Can, In Portland', W+K worked with director Mark Gustafson, who served as animation director on Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Portland-based animation studio HouseSpecial to create a fantastic exploration of the Rose City. The films feature miniature renditions of iconic Portland places, local products and memorable characters created by real Portland artists at HouseSpecial.

The feature ad shows a couple traveling through the city, doing all the quintessential things to do, like tasting craft beer, listening to classical and rock concerts, biking over bridges, hiking in the hills above the city, buying books at iconic Powell’s City of Books, shopping at the farmers market and dining at a hip restaurant.

The main video is broken down into separate 7-second versions that highlight beer tasting, late-night Portland and outdoor activities.

An accompanying behind-the-scenes video shows the meticulous attention to detail the artists spent building the sets, along with stats of what went into the production: 338 props, 7,865 total work hours, 23 puppets, 28 Portland artists and more.

The Travel Oregon campaign, We Like it Here, utilizes a robotic spokesfish to lead prospective Oregon travelers through some very Oregon scenes in 360-degree videos. The fish, a robotic Chinook salmon, becomes your tour guide to fly fishing, dune riding and wine tasting. The spokes-salmon is a humorous fellow, being distracted by a fisherman throwing out “shiny flies”, a wine crusher and tasting guide for Oregon pinot noir, and a helmeted dune buggy driver on the Oregon coast. The 360-degree videos let people see a panoramic view of the scenes that make Oregon a destination.

The broadcast spots are currently airing in key markets of Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Phoenix. The salmon videos will be enhanced by a fully integrated digital, social and public relations campaign designed to reach potential travelers during the peak planning season.

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Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

All by Kyle