Tacoma Braves Belly of the Beast

LOS ANGELES Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi places a Toyota Tacoma pickup inside a convincing simulation of Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft game in a 30-second spot that broke Saturday during college football coverage on CBS.

Called “Truck Summoner,” the animated ad features voiceovers from players talking through their in-game avatars.

As participants choose weapons, one blurts gleefully, “I’m going to equip myself with a little four wheels of fury!” A Tacoma materializes and speeds off despite protests from other players (“There’s no trucks in World of Warcraft!”).

A dragon consumes the Tacoma. But in the tradition of earlier spots in the campaign, the truck can’t be destroyed. It bursts from the chest of the dragon with the slain beast’s heart in its flatbed.

“Did you see me lay down the law?” the winning player gloats as his avatar leaps. “I am the lawgiver!”

ACDs Dino Spadavecchia and Greg Farley worked on the effort under creative director Steve Chavez and ecd Harvey Marco. Jennifer Pearse produced the spot at Hydraulx, Santa Monica, Calif., which Blizzard had used for some of the original production of the game itself.

“It was a very complex spot, very time-intensive, even with no actors,” said Spadavecchia, who with Farley directed the commercial with Hydraulx animators over the course of more than two months.

In the call for voice talent, a level of familiarity with the game was required in order to ensure that the ad-libbed banter (some of which ended up in the final cut) would be realistic.

In the first 48 hours of its posting on YouTube, the spot has been viewed more than 1 million times, as well as uploaded to gamer sites and blogs.