The Avengers stand guard in the parking lot in front of a Target store

Behind the Scenes: The Making of Target’s “Avengers” Commercial

[Cue the dramatic music] The Avengers combine forces to save the world—er, a car—from Ultron’s diabolical parking lot destruction plot!

Okay, so that’s not quite the storyline of the highly anticipated “Avengers: Age of Ultron” film. But it is the comical narrative of Target’s latest stop-motion commercial, which features fan-favorite action figures inspired by the movie.

Eager to hear more from the superhero creative minds behind the fun spot—shoot co-director Todd Mueller, senior copywriter Rachel Carlson and senior art director Patricia Ortiz—we caught up with the trio for an exclusive Q&A. And don’t miss our behind the scenes photos in the gallery below!

What was your inspiration for the script? 
Rachel & Patricia: Our goal was to make a spot that celebrated product with the famous Target wink, while remaining authentic to the Avengers characters and “The Age of Ultron” movie. We decided to build a story where action figures came to life and behaved like the real-life Avengers–as if nobody told them they were actually plastic toys. By working closely with the Marvel team, we were able to recreate iconic poses and stay true to the heroic nature of each character’s personality.

How did you work Target into the narrative?
Rachel & Patricia: Keeping Target central to the story was key to plot development and visual humor– from Ultron using the iconic red shopping cart for his evil plots, to the ultimate heroic resolution in front of the Target store.

What’s the filming process like?
Todd: Before we film each shot, we create “pop-thrus,” which are very rough animations that allow us to work out camera moves and character staging before we actually shoot the final animation. Once we do, in some cases we only have to shoot one take, but occasionally we’ll shoot two to get an alternate performance.

How is directing stop-motion different from live action?
Todd: Stop motion is a very slow, methodical process. Live action is much more spontaneous. The ‘actors’ in stop motion are the actual animators—they’re the artists who really bring the toys to life.

How long did it take to stage the production?
Todd: We spent a week and a half modifying the puppets for animation. This included wiring the existing toys and also creating additional arm and leg poses for Hulk and Thor.

Catch “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” film coming to theaters May 1 and get in the superhero spirit by making Target your HQ for all things Avengers!

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