GE Ideas Are Scary Creature Designs

About six months ago I had the opportunity to design the creature for GE’s Ideas Are Scary commercial. Initially, the direction was that this “bird-like” creature had to be part Muppet, part Dr. Seuss, but it also had to be ambiguous, as it was supposed to be representative of an idea. Like the ugly duckling, this pitiful creature is ugly and repulsive from birth, but it eventually transforms into something beautiful.

The design process actually went on for a few months. The direction went from more bird-like, to less bird-like, to not at all bird-like. They asked for something that could be from The Labyrinth, but then that was too creature-like, so they wanted something like Big Bird, with simple, yet soulful eyes. They director and the agency were looking for the “ah-hah” moment. Eventually they settled on a furry bipedal creature with little beady black eyes.

The amazing crew at Legacy Effects brought this guy to life for the commercial. As always, they did an excellent job.

Here is a gallery of the design process, starting with my final stages:

Check out the commercial below. (You might want to grab some tissues).

94 Replies to “GE Ideas Are Scary Creature Designs”

  1. As one who has always assessed television commercials (they are an under appreciated art form, really) and a huge Hensen/Frank Oz fan; this creature struck a chord in a very direct manner. I can only hope that it is made into a plush/stuffed animal of some sort. I love the design of the creature- incredibly moving.

    1. Hi Mychael,

      I grew up loving the Muppets, and all of the fabulous creations that emerged from Jim Henson’s creature shop. That is what got me into this field. When the initial direction for this commercial was to create a Henson-esque creature, I was thrilled. I’m glad you like the creature. I hope they make a plush toy as well!

      All the best,

      Bodin

      1. I love your design, the creature has so much heart with those eyes! When I watch the commercial I’m sad until the idea comes to life. I get mad at the people who miss treats it! lol

      2. I just love the idea animal. I hope you can developer it into a stuffed animal type toy.i see quite a few people are interested . I have
        Shed tears over hoot seaming so lonely.

    2. Oh absolutely! First thing I thoughy when I first saw this, and boo hooood….and hoped I could someday get a stuffed fellow just like it.

    1. Hi Rachelle,

      I don’t believe there are any plans to make a plush version of this creature. You would need to contact GE about this. It’s a great idea!

      Cheers,

      Bodin

      1. I would think that they already know what kind of response they’re getting to this great commercial.
        What is the award they give for best commercial? There is one, just can’t recall.

      1. Hi Jill,

        Glad you liked the commercial and the creature. Unfortunately GE owns the rights to the creature, so no I cannot recreate and sell them.

        Best,

        Bodin

  2. Christmas is coming, and I think that selling Plush dolls for this creature would be a great idea! I would certainly buy more than a few!

  3. Please make this into a plush animal.
    I almost cried during the commercial and was so happy when the GE employee let the idea inti the building and was nice to it. You really sucked me in and made this bizarre creature seem so cute!

    1. I’m glad you like the creature and the commercial. You are one of many that is hoping for a plush version of this guy. I hope it happens!

      Cheers,

      Bodin

      1. My 10 year old granddaughter just saw this commercial and said”aahhh!” Then broke out in tears and said “Poppie, please, please get me one of those! Now what?

  4. I figured out another angle as to why this commercial makes people cry. I watched some Youtubes of Puff the Magic Dragon. When Jackie Paper graduated to “other toys” and left Puff behind, more than one video incarnation shows Puff slumped over and slouched over, walking somberly, looking sad, much like The Creature here. As adults, I think we can absorb the concept, and it tugs at our heart strings. Puff doesn’t have a “happy ending,” but fortunately the GE Creature does!

    Did anybody else notice, that when the kind-hearted gentleman took The Creature inside of the GE building, The Creature’s FEATHERS suddenly slowly started “looking more healthy” and “more colorful?” Maybe, as SOON as somebody showed that they cared, and opened his arms to The Creature, The Creature’s spirits began to rise, and it showed in his tail feathers!

  5. watching the Super Bowl pregame and this commercial came on… am not really into commercials but this one touched me, and a tear drop fell. I had to Google it, and here I am.. great work!

    1. It is a great commercial, I feel very privileged to have been able to work on it. Thanks for the comment!

      Best,

      Bodin

  6. Immediately I thought it was a Who from a Dr. Seuass tale. Great design! The commercial was a perfect universal message! I would also love a plush for my worksite. Great Job, Bodin!

    1. Hi Robyn,

      Thanks very much. I had a lot of fun working on this commercial. I think GE really should consider making plush toys of this character! A lot of people have inquired about the availability these.

      Cheers,

      Bodin

  7. My absolute favorite super bowl commercial…your “idea” creature with GE’s message far surpassed all the others. Wonderful work, thank you!

    1. Hi Gia,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the commercial. Thanks for your kind words! It is, indeed, a great message.

      All the best,

      Bodin

  8. I was just laid off after eleven years at the same company. I got home and switched on the TV and saw this commercial. I just wanted to let you know that it made me smile at a very difficult time. As a scientist I know just how hard it can be to push forward with your ideas. I have to say that I feel like that little guy right now….but I hope to have a beautiful ending. If you could let the others who worked on this commercial know it would be greatly appreciated. I never thought that I would get so much from an ad. Great job.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I am so sorry to hear that you were laid off. I know a lot of people identify with this little guy, and I am happy to hear that this commercial may have brought some bit of comfort during a difficult time. I am sure that, you too, will have a “beautiful ending”. New opportunities could be right around the corner for you.

      I wish you all the best,

      Bodin

  9. Thank you so much for creating a creature that stirred something inside of me that brought both tears and cheers! What a beautiful creature you made! Your talent is amazing! And to echo the rest….I *need* a plush toy! Wish the people from GE would head over here and take a look at these comments!

    1. Hi Sherri,

      Thanks for your compliments. I am very grateful that, occasionally, I have the opportunity to work on something that that sends a positive message. I hear your message! Maybe GE will consider plush toys some day.

      Best,

      Bodin

    1. Hi Jen,

      I wish I could! GE owns the rights to the images and the creature, so I’m afraid it’d be up to them to create figurines and plush toys.

      Best,

      Bodin

  10. I love your “idea” and it’s ability to draw such a strong response from the audience! Would love to have an “idea” plush or miniature for my desk! Such an inspiring little buddy! 🙂

    1. Hi Bryan,

      I partnered with the amazing team at Legacy Effects, who brought this guy to life. They did a fantastic job. I hope you can get your hands on one of these “idea” creatures some day.

      Cheers,

      Bodin

  11. What a moving character and commercial!!! Literally brought me to tears. It brings up that old saying… Don’t judge a book by its’ cover. Society seems to write people off so easily… Never to know what could have been… What’s on the inside of a person! The Underdog can succeed if people open their minds and hearts. We ALL can thrive with love and having someone believe in us… Even if we don’t quite believe in ourselves. One person can make a difference in another’s life … Which can affect the world for the better. It’s refreshing to see a wholesome family commercial again.
    Keep up the great work!
    Holly

    1. Hi Holly,

      Thanks for your wonderful thoughts. It really is an inspiring commercial, and I am grateful to have been involved. I hope to see more commercials, and more films for that matter, carry a positive message.

      All the best,

      Bodin

  12. My son is 4 years old. When he first saw the commercial with the “Idea” and the voice said, “Ideas are scary,” he immediately declared, “He is not scary; he is cute. Why are the people so mean to him? I love him.” For the past week, my son has been praying for the Idea, that people will love and care for him. I wish there was a plush version of the Idea so that my son could take care of him always. Thank you for bringing the very best teachable moment to my son and making this dad break down to tears.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Sorry for my delayed response. What a very sweet reaction to the creature and to the ad. Your son obviously understands compassion, and the world certainly needs more of that. Thank you for sharing this touching moment.

      All the best,

      Bodin

  13. Bodin:

    Terrific work. I must have watched the video at leat 10 times already. Thanks for contributing to one if the most inspirational commercials I’ve seen in a while. You have hit it out of the park!

    John DiMattei – Boeing

    1. Hi John,

      Please forgive my delayed response. Thanks for your kind words! I feel very privileged to have been able to work on such a great commercial.

      Best,

      Bodin

  14. Bodin,
    The Idea Creature is pure genius. I watched it several times yesterday to get in a creative frame of mind. It always inspires me. Most people don’t view real estate and economic development law as creative fields but I sure do. We all felt like the Idea many times, but it gets easier every time and your Idea validates the quest. Everything in every vignette seems important, which I love. My favorite part is when the Idea waves slightly as he passes 2 smiling people behind the glass. That moment of coming into his own through interaction as he walks, not shuffles, down the bright hallway of ideas is priceless. Thank you.
    Be well, Dave

    1. Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your insight! I’m glad the commercial resonated with you as well. This is still my favorite commercial that I had the privilege to work on.

      Cheers,

      Bodin

      1. I really think this is a winner of a creation. I don’t tweet or facebook, so is there an addy where I could write GE? Was hoping a plush might be made for Christmas. One of best commercials of the year.

        1. Hi Marty,

          I’m glad you enjoyed the commercial. Unfortunately, I don’t have any contacts at GE. I just worked with the ad agency for the commercial.

          Best,

          Bodin

      2. I’m one person who identifies with him. I just love the ad. BTW, what country was it filmed in, the cafe signs looks Portuguese.

        1. Hi Robyn,

          I’m glad you liked the ad. I’m not actually sure where it filmed. I can find out and get back to you.

          Best,

          Bodin

  15. As so many others have said, this creature and commercial touched my heart. When it comes on TV and I am in another room, I rush to see it. It is amazing that one can really connect with this creature and feel the emotions throughout the commercial….and the end joy of its being listened to and cared about giving it an opportunity to shine! Wonderful heart work on your part. There are so many possibilities for this creature….a children’s book, (which I promise you adults will buy for themselves), stuffed toys, movies, television series, etc. I shared the video on my facebook page so that I can see it often. Congratulations! And big hugs to you and the creature…..and GE! Thank you!

    1. Hi Paulette,

      Thanks for your wonderful thoughts. This commercial has certainly struck a chord with so many people. The message is clear and true. I am very fortunate to have been part of the great team that made this commercial and this creature a reality.

      Cheers,

      Bodin

  16. Thank you for your beautiful inspiration. The creature you created was so genuine. I like all the other people would love to have one for my workspace. Just to remind me that ideas and inspiration aren’t pretty or perfect. Hoping they make a plush of this creature soon.

    Great work!

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m not sure if a plush creature will ever happen, but it sure would be popular!

      All the best,

      Bodin

  17. This commercial should win an award!
    I would love a stuffed animal of this creature.
    It has to be in my top ten of favourite commercials. Best one I’ve seen years!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I’m glad you liked the commercial. The team at BBDO really knocked it out of the park with the concept. I hope it does win an award, and that they create for a stuffed creature some day!

      Best,

      Bodin

  18. Years ago, I had a cousin who worked at Eveready and sent me a 2′ tall Eveready bunny, complete with drum, sticks, flip flops and that priceless stature of pride. Still know where it is. An IDEA plush will stop people in their tracks, just like “EB” did. It represents something within each of us that wishes for that IDEA to come out, face the world, and hopefully be accepted like those two iconic figures have done, and still do. GE, please make these available…We’ll gladly pay!!

  19. I recognized this delightful creature instantly as a sibling to one of my own ideas. I wonder why there is no mention of the agony suffered by the laboring mother. I would dearly love to have a wee plush or even a little figurine. Gotta go, working on an idea for sharing photos and stories about immigrant ancestors on Thanksgiving Day. Thank you for this!

    1. Hi Ada,

      Good thoughts the “mother” of the idea! Good luck with your work on the immigrant ancestors.

      Cheers,

      Bodin

  20. I was wondering if it were possible to get a file of the first photo up there (the fully realized idea creature with its colorful plumage) emailed to me so I could print it for my mom for Christmas. She is obsessed with your creature and watches the commercial on YouTube and if I could give her a framed photo of your mock up, she would be amazed!

    1. Hi Alicia,

      I’m afraid I can’t distribute any images, as the client owns the rights to all the work. I’m glad your mom likes the commercial!

      Best,

      Bodin

  21. Bodin
    I really love this commercial and every time I see it I am reminded that great ideas come in different packages. My hats off to the creators of this commercial from concept to completion it really sent a touching and masterful message. Many people are requesting a plush toy. I have to disagree. Yes, “idea” is lovable and inspirational but it is an “idea” and if plush toys and action figures are created (someone even mentioned a children’s program) that would make “idea” a solid creature. This is a representation of an “idea”, a concept, a growing evolving opportunity for innovation and change. Not a character. I think GE probably understands this (hence no plush toys as of yet) and they should keep this icon right where its at in our minds and our hearts. Again, great job! Brilliant! This blows any Hallmark commercial away.

    1. Hi Melissa,

      Great insight! You are spot on. That is why the process of designing the “idea” creature became quite a challenge. It had to be really ambiguous, yet still illicit sympathy and carry the message of the spot. My initial tendencies were to design something with more recognizable features, but the director and creatives wisely requested that I continue to simplify the form and features, otherwise people would be too caught up in what this thing is, instead of what it is meant to represent.

      Best,

      Bodin

      1. Hi Bodin! I just saw this commercial for the first time last week, and scrolling through the comments, found this the most interesting. Although I DO want a plush figure – mainly for emotional reasons, and that’s how I came to this page in the first place – I have to agree that pinning it down to something so defined would defeat what the commercial actually means to me. It affected me less related to ideas and creativity (though I see how well it brings that across) but more that I see someone who needs acceptance and dignity and friendship and love, and it tore my heart a little. I think I signed up for like three service projects or something after watching this and possibly doing some ugly crying. Then again, it WAS the holidays. But still. I know you’ve been inundated with lots of good thoughts on this commercial, so this is just one more – thank you for this endearing and lovely creation.

        1. Hi Kristyn

          Thanks for your heartfelt thoughts! Please forgive the belated response. That is fantastic that you signed up for some service projects! That is truly needed these days, as well as more love and acceptance. Again, I feel very fortunate to have been involved in this project. I wish I could help out with the plush creature, but that is out of my jurisdiction. 😉

          I wish you the best in the new year,

          Bodin

  22. I second all the glowing comments! And I, too, could see a plush creature, and a full line of items. A key fob with the creature in gray, when tilted transforms into the full color version. Who is the person to contact at GE??????

    1. Hi Reva,

      I’m glad you like the creature. Interesting merch idea. Unfortunately, I don’t have any contacts at GE.

      Best,

      Bodin

  23. Your ad hits a chord it’s hard to put into words, and that wonderful little creature is just perfect. I second (third, fourth, and so on) everyone’s idea about a marketable form of him/her/it. But which version would it be–the bedraggled waif or the glorious fully feathered and fully realized Idea? Or would he be a series of “Russian dolls” with layers? or have a button to push that would make his plumage spring out? Just curious.

  24. This has to be the BEST commercial of all time! I was trying to figure out what the Creature was — animated or a short person wearing a suit. Then I found the info from Legacy Effects. Possibly GE will relent and make a plush toy available. I remember how delighted I was to be able to buy an “ET” doll after the film came out in 1982.

    1. Hi Barbara,

      Glad you liked the commercial. The creature was a puppet, a suit and the final stage was a CG character.

      Best,

      Bodin

  25. Hi I love this commercial and the creature you created, he stands for something big, and an idea we all need to share and strive towards, to accept those who are differnt from us and yes scary.
    I love your creature and i want a plush version of him, I show this commercial to everyone.

    Karin

    1. Hi Karen,

      I think it’s no coincidence that GE started running this ad again. At its core, it is indeed a message of acceptance and love. We need more of that these days.

      All the best,

      Bodin

  26. I, too, come into the room when I hear the music of this commercial. Your vision is exemplary. As a singer, I want to commend the composer, as well. It truly fits and completes the concept.

  27. I use the ‘idea-baby’ reference with my team all the time… you have to nuture the seemingly odd ones to make them as amazing as you though they could always be…I would love a plush toy or a plastic doll to give to them….

  28. I love your commercial, excellent work! I wish I had a three d printer and could print his picture but I understand only GE,has the rights but I think they’d want to sell plush they could have money for scholarships or children’s hospitals.

  29. I just found this site looking to buy an idea stuffed creature. My 42 year old husband wants one as does my 2 year old son. This has to be made! Who can we petition?

  30. I just saw this commercial for the first time tonight & I cried over its sadness & triumphant beauty. The creature you’ve created was perfect in capturing the definiton of its message it’s trying so hard to deliver. This is artwork at its best. Thank you.

  31. You did such an amazing, emotion evoking job with this artistic creation. It really speaks to how our inner ideas take form and grow. Incredibly well done!

    1. Hi Nick,

      Thanks for the great feedback! The world needs more bright ideas, and more acceptance to allow them to flourish.

  32. The fact that this was made into thousand 14 and it is now 2017 shows you how little I ever look at commercials are even mainstream television as compared to YouTube and the Internet.

    I saw this a few months ago between football commercials complements of my fiancé looking at ESPN 24-7.

    Anyway this is of the most moving tearjerking commercials I’ve seen. It reminds me a whole lot of myself.

    Can you or GEO will have a please please please make a plush toy at this most adorable and endearing Ideas Monster

    I want to take him home

  33. I used you’re lovely creature in a recent QI project pitch. I would LOVE to have a stuffed image of this. Any possibility it will go into production?

    1. Hi Frances,

      That’s great you were able to use this for Qi pitch. Again, I have no leads on a plush toy.

      Best,

      Bodin

  34. Well, I’m two years late on seeing the commercial but it moved me so much with the concept and the creature that I posted it to my FB page. I’m a bit selective on what I share or repost! Love your design and do hope that GE would a plush available! And you…please keep creating more awesomeness like this!! ❤

    1. Hi Tara,

      Glad you liked the commercial. As I’ve mentioned in other comments, I feel very fortunate to have been involved in such a fun project, and a moving commercial.

      Best,

      Bodin

  35. the commercial is the same as Bob Dylans rainy day women song, (they stone when lloking for a job, they stone you sitting at the breakfast table, they stone you when you live all alone, etc.

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