Strange Beast assembles a superstar cast of animators for weird and wild Portland tourism campaign

Featuring animations from Alexandre Louvenaz, Joseph Melhuish, Laura Jayne Hodkin and Brendan Conroy, the campaign for Travel Portland is a strange (and creative) invitation to the city.

17 January 2020


London-based animation production company Strange Beast and Wieden+Kennedy Portland have created a new animation and illustration-based campaign for Travel Portland inspired by the city’s reputation for quirkiness. Led by creative director Andy Martin, animators Alexandre Louvenaz, Joseph Melhuish, Laura Jayne Hodkin and Brendan Conroy each created short, animated films inspired by Portland’s idiosyncrasies, while still images were created by illustrators Eva Cremers, Guy Field, Parallel Teeth and Sebaldo. The videos and posters all riff on the campaign’s tagline “Go Somewhere Different”.

Each of the short animations take on normal tourism topics such as shopping or nature, but the animators were free to take subjects in a wild direction in tune with Portland’s oddball rep. Joseph Melhuish’s Slurp celebrates Portland’s food culture and features a “super slurper” who sucks her spaghetti so enthusiastically she inhales, first, all of the objects around her and then reality itself, revealing the animation’s wire frame. Brendan Conroy’s Beer has a similarly humorous tone as an ale fan’s tongue stretches from his mouth to entwine itself around every drink in sight, knocking the head off several pints.

Giant Tree by Laura Jayne Hodkin depicts a chuckling sequoia tree, while her second film Treasures features a vintage coat rummaging through the clothes racks to find its perfect human. Perhaps the strangest of the lot is Alexandre Louvenaz’s Meet Portland which involves a “little misfit” popping out of the skull of the film’s protagonist and going on to enjoy some of the more city’s more esoteric tourist attractions such as cave wine and smelling old books. The posters all show the weird side of Portland and include a band made of earwax gigging in someone’s inner ear and an avid and incredibly long-limbed reader making a fort in a book shop.

Strange Beast creative director Andy Martin says: “The challenge of this project was pulling together vastly differing illustration and animation techniques and integrating them into one campaign. While keeping some elements consistent throughout, each of the talented artists brought their own unique style to the individual pieces, collectively creating one of the most varied and vibrant campaigns I've had the pleasure to work on.”

Alexandre Louvenaz: Meet Portland


Joseph Melhuish: Slurp


Laura Jayne Hodkin: Treasures


Brendan Conroy: Beer

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About the Author

Laura Snoad

Laura is a London-based arts journalist who has been working for It’s Nice That on a freelance basis since 2016.

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