[ Update: June 9, 2010, The Today Show did a short segment on the Association of Independent Commercial Producers “Best Commercials of 2009” selections…and the “I’m on a Horse” Old Spice commercial won! ]
I caught my wife rewinding the DVR and watching the “Old Spice” Superbowl Ad…AGAIN…last night. I can pretty much tell which TV Commercials will or are ‘going viral’ based on whether or not we rewind the DVR to watch it. The funny thing is that I had already watched a 20+ minute ‘behind the scenes’ breakdown of how they made this particular Ad weeks earlier.
Old Spice Ad: Click to watch on Youtube
I spent the first 15+ years of my career at a computer graphics company so I’m usually interested in analyzing ‘CG’ work (Computer Generated) and such. One of my daily tasks caused me to stumble across Leo Laporte’s video blog (ChiefTWiT) trying to prove a $100 bet as to whether the Old Spice commercial was a straight ‘old school’ shoot or did it involve CG. I mentioned to my wife later that afternoon that she should see this really cool commercial and why I found it interesting. While she said, “sure”, I could tell she was only being polite. Once we watched it, however, she really enjoyed it. Now I’ve caught her re-watching it a few times. A quick search and glance on Youtube shows this has now been viewed easily over 15 million times.
(Of course, you’ll likely note how hunky the actor is, as I’m sure my friends will point out.) Had I actually written about this a month ago when I showed it to her, I don’t think I would have guessed how much viral online attention it would get because I would have thought I was too close to the trees on this one. My wife suggested I should write about this, but I thought she was just being supportive. 🙂
So…CG or ‘real’? If you want to watch an interview that discusses all aspects and ‘tears it down’ scene by scene, you can click on the below picture to hear the details…otherwise SPOILER ALERT, I’m giving away the answer further down:
Click to watch 20 minute interview on Youtube
But first, I want to spend time on another commercial I have just seen this morning. It’s already going somewhat viral with over 1 million views just this week since it’s been posted. Maybe it’s the combination of ‘Magic’ and a Motorcycle?
Interested in seeing a new BMW 1000 RR taking the old “yanking the tablecloth off without messing up all the table ware settings”? Yep, BMW decided to show off their new Motorcycle by having it before the same trick…only in XXXL size:
Click here to watch BMW Ad on Youtube
So, I think it’s pretty obvious that the BMW Ad is real and not CG – but I could be wrong. I would like to find out how many takes it took and how long it took to set up the table for each take. Please comment if you find any of this information. 🙂
And…now. Look Down.
Look Back Up.
Look Down further. You see a Spoiler:
The Old Spice Commercial? Almost entirely real. Isaiah Mustafa is the actor, (and that is his real voice), and is an Ex-NFL player. The bathroom ‘set’ is a 3/4 mock with running water and it was placed on top of a 1/3 mock Ship set, which is sitting on a real beach. They pull the bathroom away with a crane and the actor ‘sits down’ onto a custom dolly at the point where he is distracting the audience with the oyster and tickets. (The only significant CG is making the diamonds ‘flow’ from his hand as well as the Old Spice product materialize upwards. Once the actor has sat down, they slide him off the boat onto a real horse…you can watch the clouds barely moving in the background to see that transition. The other CG work is the final scene showing the horse, just under his head they had to brush out the dolly arm that pulled the Actor onto the horse.
So…everything had to be done perfectly from beginning to end in one uncut take. And dozens of people had to do their job flawlessly and on time without gear or equipment issues. It took three days and 57 takes before they nailed it. That’s both a strategic plan AND flawless execution — when the two come together it clearly adds up to way more than the parts.
I’ve been worried that TV Ads will go the way of Newspapers and Classifieds. However, both of these Ads are using techniques that are decades old AND obtaining huge viewership…even ignoring TV air exposure. Hopefully, if the Good Go Viral, they’ll justify the cost of production and the continued use of TV exposure to create and drive traffic online. I have noticed that the Old Spice commercial seems to be running much more often, and I wonder if it’s because of their online success. I personally hope this blend of media distribution does somehow fill in the void DVRs are causing in TV Ad revenues. Maybe they’ll end up showing fewer commericals for more money and Firms will use those slots to launch major Ad campaigns. Once they have an online indicator showing what is effective, they up their air space on TV to continue driving the promotion while utilizing the increased exposure online for more interactive two-way communications. I don’t really know, but do know I would hate it if e*trade babies, I’m a Mac and other fun commercials disappear entirely. Wouldn’t you, too?