Press release from Framstore:
Visual effects house Framestore and videogame developer Blitz Game Studios joined forces to create and develop a streamed digital experience that formed the core of Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl 2012 advertising campaign.
Working with innovative advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, the UK companies conceived and created the centrepiece of the Coke Polar Bowl, a unique viewing experience that merged a live digital stream and social media activity with traditional advertising. The digital platform used proprietary technology (developed by the UK pairing) to bring the computer-generated polar bears to life, and allowed fans to follow their reactions throughout the big game. Using conventional videogame controllers, the bears were puppeteered live throughout the pre-match build-up, during the game and into post-match celebrations, to support and react to their teams’ play and performance. They were also able to interact with live social media activity on Facebook and Twitter throughout, responding to requests, displaying messages and images from fans, and even reacting to the traditional commercial breaks.
Designed from the outset to take advantage of the estimated 60 million people who watched the game while consuming other related content on second screens, the project has capitalised on the expertise of both UK companies involved to ensure that not only was there the highest quality visual consistency across the entire campaign, but that the technology underpinning the execution was powerful and flexible enough to create a compelling and entertaining experience.
The resulting approach is something that all involved are confident will be seen as a landmark moment in the creation and consumption of computer-generated content, as Framestore’s Digital Creative Director Mike Woods explains, “I cannot stress enough how real-time CG rendering such as this will be a complete game-changer for visual effects. Real-time rendering is the future and spells the end for time- and data-consuming render farms. In ten years, we will have Harry Potter style visual effects, with all its extremely complex effects like fluid simulations, working in instant real-time.”
The project also served to illustrate the importance of open-minded collaboration and knowledge-sharing between different industries, as Blitz’s R&D Art Director Jolyon Webb explains, “in the games industry we’re well used to creating compelling and engaging interactive characters, and the underlying technology to deliver them intuitively. But by combining our real-time emotional responses with Framestore’s pre-rendered animated sequences we’ve created something that’s really more than the sum of its parts.”
The 2012 Super Bowl game aired on Sunday February 5th and it has been estimated that millions of fans followed the Coca-Cola Polar Bowl Party via Twitter and YouTube, joining the Polar Bears watching the New York Giants snatch victory in the closing minutes of the game.
AGENCY Wieden + Kennedy
AGENCY PRODUCER Kate Leo
PRODUCTION COMPANIES Framestore and Blitz Games Studio
DIGITAL CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mike Woods
VFX Blitz Games Studio
ART DIRECTOR Jolyon Webb
TECHNICAL MANAGER Claude Dareau