Burger launch gets high-tech, high-profile help

Ever wondered what has happened to the hot Dunedin graphics shop Animation Research since it wowed the world with the America's Cup animations and won awards with its bodydurfing penguins? The company's been working with 1995's other phenomenon - Jonah Lomu.

The Lomu frame dominates the animators' frames in a big-budget extravaganza created to push his sponsor McDonald's new burger, the MegaFeast. (Here @IDG, we maintain it should have been called the LomuBurger.) The maiden screening of the commercial on Friday night caps off eight months' work.

In the commercial, a ravenous Lomu fights off animated "brickmen" and giant cranes and leaps over obstacles in order to reach his burger. The various illusions required two days of Lomu's time on a treadmill, two tonnes of lighting and a 25m long blue-screen, all of which were set up in a dilapidated Dunedin move theatre. The action sequences were directed by David Green, who worked on the spectacular (if unsuccessful) Judge Dredd movie.

Green has previously worked with Animation Research, whose animation team created the landscape in which Jonah saves the world and gets the bigger burger. The creatures he battles were animated with the aid of a motion-capture suit with 16 tracking sensors built in to it - the first time such a device has been used in a New Zealand commercial.

STOP PRESS ... @IDG does Lomuburger taste test

SO ... does the product justify all the hi-tech hoopla? The MegaFeast specs are as follows:

Standard 0.25lb beef patty, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard and a "unique" mayonnaise wrapped in a larger-than-usual sesame seed bun. Price: $3.75 inc. GST. (Also available in multimedia "Combo" configuration with fries and Coke, $5.75.)

@IDG benchmarked the "Lomuburger" against McDonald's flagship Big Mac and found it to be measurably larger - and markedly more tasty, than the norm.

"Perhaps they're trying harder because it's a new burger, but this is the best burger I've had from this vendor in a long time," says one of our testers. "Including ketchup, mustard, mayo, onion and pickles looked like overkill, but, frankly, this burger tasted of something. But not cheese. Was there really cheese?"

What do you think of the Lomuburger? A load of overcooked techno-hype wrapped around an overpaid kid - or a damn fine demonstration of the burger arts? Tell us in feedback.

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