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november

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One part X-Files, two parts David Lynch and three parts harmony, the latest commercial for the NBA's Sacramento Kings raises the roof. "The Arco Arena is one of the loudest arenas in the country," says Aaron Allen, art director at Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco. "The fans are super loud and can affect the outcome of a game. This spot is a thank you to the people who fill the building every night." "Dog" opens in an abandoned parking lot, where a woman encounters a pooch trapped in a locked car. As she tries to help the animal, scores of Kings fans—from Section 110—appear out of nowhere. "We'll save the dog," says one, and 80 people start to chant in unison. As the pitch rises, harmonic convergence is reached—the car's windows shatter, freeing the mutt. This ad straddles the line between funny and strange, a hard thing to do. "The tendency is to play up the humor," Allen says. "But we wanted to be subtle, not overdo any of the jokes." Indeed, these fans aren't wearing foam fingers or eating hot dogs: they just show up to help. This spot was also a players-free zone: "We didn't want to feature any players because who knows if they'll be around next year [that would be you, Chris Webber]," Allen says. "It was fun to make a spot for the actual fans. They don't always get recognized."