In the early to mid 1990’s, one of the ways Pixar tried to support itself was making television commercials for products like LifeSavers candy, Trident gum, and Pillsbury rolls. Not surprisingly, Pixar specialized in commercials that used character animation to give products a personality.
Some of its most admired commercial work was for Listerine; the agency involved, J. Walter Thompson, gave Pixar considerable creative freedom.
How do you give a personality to a faceless bottle? Below, several of Pixar’s classic Listerine ads—
Director: John Lasseter
The concept was inspired by the 1980 film Raging Bull. A newly-hired Pete Docter assisted with the animation.
Swinging Bottle (1993)
Director: Andrew Stanton
This ad and Arrows, below, caused a minor craze for the accompanying New Wave song, Tarzan Boy.
Director: Jan Pinkava
This ad won Pixar its first Gold Clio award—loosely speaking, the Oscar of advertising.
(Thanks to Ralph Guggenheim for helpful tips.)