Ataboy Dreams Up Surrealist Worlds For White Castle Campaign

Campaign gives proud shout-outs to sliders and nibblers as the perfect companions for taste buds

Creative production company Ataboy partners with full-service advertising agency Merkley + Partners to bring to life a mind-bending, animated campaign for the world’s first fast-food hamburger chain, White Castle.

Directed by Ataboy Founder Vikkal Parikh, the campaign, entitled “In These Times”, visualizes the pure sensory experience of the brand’s comfort food lineup through fast-paced animation juxtaposed with collage-inspired imagery. The style gives a nod to a technique used for centuries by surrealist artists to create paintings and posters. Featuring the all-new Smoky Joe Slider as well as returning fan-favorites the Sloppy Joe Slider and Mac N’ Cheese Nibblers, the narrative steps into realms of the unexpected with dream-like environments and quirky characters. From a bear-headed lumberjack and unfurling tongue carpet to an exceptionally long hand getting cozy with a Sloppy Joe, the compositions all come together to create a charming and fun world accompanied by a friendly, loving voiceover.

Created during the pandemic, the art, design, and animation were carried out remotely by Ataboy. “Animation was the best and really the only way to fulfill this shared vision. The medium offers a brilliant canvas for imaginative storytelling and we have the virtual pipeline set up to channel this element into advertising from the safety of our own homes”, says Parikh. “At the end of the day, we all wanted the same thing: to capture that delicious White Castle goodness.”

The work follows the brand’s winter announcement on the launch of their new menu items as well as builds upon the content and themes from the recent “Long Live Sliders” campaign which was also developed by Merkley + Partners and White Castle with end tag designs by Ataboy.

According to Ataboy Senior Producer Rasha Clark, “The title of the campaign and the voiceover allude to our current isolation and the fact that we are missing things we love, but the spot shows the viewer that you don’t have to give up everything you love. The teams at Merkley + Partners and White Castle really understood our vision, so the environment was highly collaborative during the entire process. From agency to client, all parties were familiar with our mixed media capabilities and resources as well as talent so there was a refreshing level of trust in our direction. White Castle is such a fun brand that consistently pushes the boundaries of innovative storytelling to connect with their audiences. Our collective goal was to create content that grabs the audience’s attention while captivating curious minds and eyes in a quirky yet highly relatable way.”

The Sloppy Joe and Smoky Joe Sliders — both 99¢ and available to be mixed and matched in the $6 Joe Six Pack — along with the Mac N’ Cheese Nibblers will run on the White Castle menu until February 14, 2021.

Hardware and Software Tools / Platforms:

Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Maxon Cinema 4D


Production Company: Ataboy Studios
Director / Creative Director: Vikkal Parikh
Senior Producer: Rasha Clark
Design / Concept Art: Aaron Maurer
Editor: Michael Equi
Lead Animator: Adam VanDine
Animation: Ridvan Maloku, Dmitry Morozov
Audio / Sound Design: Heard City


About Ataboy:

With strong emphasis on visual storytelling, Ataboy crafts rich experiences combining animation, live action, and motion design. By fostering great ideas into impactful pieces of  bite-sized content, we are committed to creating captivating narratives that engage and entertain our audiences.