Ad of the Day: Rocksmith

Cutwater shows off its versatility in a rocking campaign for Ubisoft's guitar game

The main point of difference for Rocksmith over other guitar-playing video games is that you can plug in a real guitar and learn the instrument as you play. The logical way to advertise it would be to get all gritty and real. But for Cutwater, the newly independent San Francisco agency (Chuck McBride and his partners negotiated a separation from Omnicom last December), that seemed perhaps a bit too obvious.

In fact, the agency went in the opposite direction this summer with its first Rocksmith spot—a viral masterpiece (2.8 million views and counting on YouTube) in which a baby freakishly plays the guitar, as his proudly goofy father looks on. The definition of unreal, the spot nonetheless absurdly embodied the brand promise—that anyone can learn to play—and got the Ubisoft game some great exposure, including a Father's Day appearance on Good Morning America.

Now, we get the follow-up spot—a bit more like what you'd expect, with some theatrical flourishes. It opens with a guy plugging his electric guitar into the game. As he starts to play along with a hard-rock track, he turns and kicks down his living-room wall. Dust flies everywhere, revealing a pair of teen girls next door, who are also rocking out on their guitars. One of them kicks down a wall, to show a guy playing in his kitchen. And so on. The other characters include a Dave Grohl-type rocker (with a couple of groupies) and a bunch of soldiers in their barracks. The spot depicts a progression of skill from level to level, and the metaphor is clear: The barriers of entry to playing guitar are coming down, thanks to Rocksmith. The spot has a great vibe, dynamic yet supremely cool, and strikes just the right balance between aspirational and practical. (Most guitar games lean heavily on the former, without much to offer in terms of the latter.)

The viral nature of "Guitar Baby" meant Cutwater couldn't vocally claim credit for it until now. But it tapped into one of the agency's strengths—making sticky viral content that goes places. (The shop also did the popular series of Ray-Ban virals, as well as the "Ultimate Batting Practice" video for Easton Baseball.) This second Rocksmith spot shows the agency's more traditional creative chops—and it got a high-profile showcase placement last night on MTV, with a 90-second feature airing on the first new Beavis and Butt-Head special.

The campaign serves a nice re-introduction to Cutwater. With McBride shredding on lead guitar, this band of creatives is once again going places.

Client: Ubisoft
Product: Rocksmith
Agency: Cutwater, San Francisco

Executive Creative Director: Chuck McBride
Executive Creative Director: Travis Britton
Executive Producer: Daniel Tuggle
Production Company: Prettybird
Director: Paul Hunter
Co-Founder/Executive Producer: Kerstin Emhoff
Executive Producer: Ali Brown
Line Producer: Gaetano Crupi
Editorial: Barbary Post
Editor: Bob Spector
EFX Supervisor: Greg Gilmore
Executive Producer: Kristen Jenkins
Sound Design: Machinehead
Chief Sound Designer: Stephen Dewey

"Guitar Baby"
Executive Creative Director: Chuck McBride
Executive Creative Director: Travis Britton
Executive Producer: Daniel Tuggle
Production Company: Park Pictures
Director: Benzo Theodore
Executive Producer: Jackie Kelman Bisbee
Line Producer: Ron Cosentino
DP/Editor: Ross Harris
Visual Effects: A 52 / Elastic
Post Supervisor: Patrick Murphy