: Art by Brett Stenson

Behind the Scenes of ‘Extraordinary is Ordinary’

July 21, 2022

If there’s one thing summer 2022 has made clear, it’s that travel is back in a big way.

Travel Oregon wanted to remind visitors and residents of all that is extraordinary in the state by getting back to its roots – quite literally. Extraordinary is Ordinary, which launched in early July 2022, offers a whimsical take on three ubiquitous elements in Oregon – rocks, water and soil.

“We’d done ‘Only Slightly Exaggerated’ for three years, showing the landscapes, all animated,” says Megan Riehl, Wieden + Kennedy brand director. “What we missed was some of the reality.” The result: A year-long effort to create three short videos that showcase multiple styles of studio magic – all inspired by real-life locations in Oregon’s seven regions.

(You can download a little something extraordinary from Oregon for your desktop or mobile background here.)

Here’s a peek at how it all came together – and you just might be inspired to watch it again and again to catch the many layers.


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One of the elements of creative artistry for Extraordinary is Ordinary was the live-action footage of Oregon as well as the filming of “real” people and flora and fauna layered into the mixed-media scenes,  says Kyler Spickler, Wieden + Kennedy brand manager. The family of hikers walking through the Malheur National Forest was also shot on a studio set with real people and trees brought in.

The second – and most visible – layer of the videos utilizes the fun and magic of old-school animation techniques like puppetry, Claymation and stop-motion animation. (Fun fact: Claymation originated in Portland at the former Will Vinton Studios, as you might remember from the California Raisins’ iconic “Heard it from the Grapevine.” The Portland Region continues to be a global leader in animation, with Laika Studios based in Hillsboro.)


illustration of grassy valley with trees and mountain in purple sunset
"Soil" illustration, by Brett Stenson

Some of the stop-motion and puppet scenes, like the Timberline Lodge scene with the snowboarder doing a flip , took a full day, Spickler says. A 12-hour shoot typically results in about 3 seconds of footage. Dozens of animators – some of which did previous work on Wes Anderson films — did this painstaking work to bring the Claymation and miniature figures to life.

“It was so special seeing the attention to detail and care they put into each puppet’s movement and the details on each set we created,” says Nick Stokes, Wieden + Kennedy creative director. “The entire production team and animators were just as excited and passionate about this project as we were, which was also really special to see.”

illustration of green and white mountains, valleys and sky
"Rocks" illustration, by Brett Stenson

Homegrown brands are represented in several of the scenes  including Trew Gear, Columbia and Pendleton. The bowl of ramen is based on the signature dish at Portland’s Afuri restaurant, and the beer is an actual beer from Beaverton’s Great Notion Brewing called “Ripe,” a hazy IPA.

Finally, the last layer of the creative is the digitally painted sets – called “matte paintings” in TV/film productions, as producers use them for set design. The internationally recognized artist behind the work is Simone De Salvatore, who has worked on many of the matte paintings seen in shows like “Game of Thrones” and in Wes Anderson films like “Grand Budapest Hotel,” which won an Oscar in 2015 for best production design.


illustration of buildings surrounded by river, bridges and a snow-covered mountain with sky and clouds in background

The geography featured in these swoon-worthy matte paintings ties back to the extraordinary locations this campaign chose to feature.

If you’re a fan of beautiful font types, Brett Stenson is a local Portland artist and designer who created the custom “Extraordinary is Ordinary” type lockup. “We felt lucky to work with him, and even luckier to collaborate with an Oregonian,” Stokes says.

Find It:

Visitors can pick up free copies of the three lovely Extraordinary is Ordinary end-card scenes as postcards and posters while they last at seven Travel Oregon Welcome Centers across the state, in Ashland, Portland, Oregon City, Seaside, Brookings, Ontario and Klamath Falls.

About The

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson is a longtime journalist and travel writer/editor who is now Travel Oregon’s Content & Community Manager, helping to align content for visitors via social media, print and web. She’s called Oregon home for 25 years and loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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