The Colonie Revs Up for Toyota Corolla

The Colonie recently teamed with Burrell Communications to provide editorial, VFX and design services for ‘I Do,’ a broadcast spot introducing the 2017 Toyota Corolla. Creative editor, Bob Ackerman took the automaker’s tagline, ‘Let’s Go Places,’ and ran with it. Fast-paced cuts and editing effects helped create an upbeat message that celebrates the bold creativity of both the new Corolla, as well as its target audience - today's ‘on-the-go’ generation of young African Americans adults.

Lewis Williams, Burrell’s EVP/CCO, brought The Colonie onboard early in the process to collaborate with the production company, The Cavalry, ensuring the seamless integration of a variety of visual effects that were central to the style of this spot. “International director, Deluxe, and the whole team at The Cavalry were awesome at capturing some exciting and dynamic imagery”, said Ackerman. “It was an honor to work with such a creative company”

The commercial integrates three distinct vignettes, each with a bold, imaginative spin. The spot opens with a young woman behind the wheel of her Toyota. She arrives at a city park and her friends help her yarn bomb the surroundings – from hand-knitted tree trunk covers to a slipcover for a loveseat and a garbage pail cozy in the likeness of whimsical characters.

From the get go art director, Winston Cheung, was very focused on keeping the tone of the spot fresh and young – and his attention to detail was key. When selecting footage during the edit session Ackerman and Cheung made sure to utilize some of the more playful set-ups from the yarn vignette to providing the bold color palette for final transfer.

The second scenario finds an enterprising man parking his Toyota Corolla and unloading his 'Pop-Up Barbershop' in front of a tall wall adorned with artful graffiti. A well-placed painting of a young man’s face under a huge Afro-shaped dome of leave that extends over the top of the wall completes the picture. No sooner does the barber sets up his chair and sign then his first customer arrives.

The third vignette featuring a young filmmaker shooting footage of the 2017 Toyota as her crew adds some illuminating effects. Taking her cues from this scene, The Colonie senior designer, Jen Moody, crafted a series of shots that utilize a “light painting” technique to create a trail of light effect. One of the characters writes the spot’s title, ‘I Do’ with a light, which Moody layered to create a more tangible quality that really sells the effect. VFX Supervisor Tom Dernulc took a classic Toyota Corolla from a previous segment and seamlessly integrated it into the background of the scene.

The Chicago-based editorial and visual effects boutique’s team explored several methods for creating the various VFX in the spot before deciding upon a combination of Flame Premium and After-Effects. Then, it was a matter of picking the right moments. Ackerman grabbed some of their top choices, roughed in the effect on the Avid Media Composer, and presented the client with a nearly finished look right from the very first rough cuts.

“Early on creative director Lisa McConnell had expressed a desire to explore using a series of stills flashing (á la TV’s ‘Scandal’) to advance the spot’s story,” says Ackerman. “We loved the idea. Condensing short sequences of footage into rapid progressions of imagery provided us with an innovative way to convey the full scope of these three scenarios in a very limited 30-second time frame – while also adding an interesting visual element to the final spot.”

'I Do' called for an aggressive and playful editing style that still had to accomplish some heavy lifting to showcase some of the Corolla’s features, such as its back-up camera and automatic lane departure system.

“We very appreciative of the trusting and collaborative relationship our team has developed with the Burrell over the years,” says The Colonie’s executive producer, Mary Caddy. “The creatives at the agency consistently come up with forward-thinking creative solutions tailored to a product’s target market - and we’re always thrilled to have an opportunity to work with them."


CLIENT: Toyota / Corolla



TYPE: Broadcast Commercial

AIRDATE: Beginning week of October 6th

AGENCY: Burrell Communications / Chicago

EVP/CCO: Lewis Williams

Producer: Shirley Portee

GCD: Lisa McConnell

ACD: Winston Cheung


Director: Deluxe

Producer:Alexis Seely

EDITORIAL COMPANY: The Colonie / Chicago

Creative Editor: Bob Ackerman

Assistant Editor: Graham Chapman

Finishing: Tom Dernulc

Assistant Editor: Ben Pokorny

Design: Lyndsay McCully

Executive Producer: Mary Caddy


Colorist: Fred Keller

AUDIO + SOUND DESIGN COMPANY: CRC (Chicago Recording Company) / Chicago

Mixer: Ian Scott

Sound Designer: Ian Scott


Composer: Mike Dragovic / Michael Yessian / Brian Yessian