As Conor McGregor returns to the octagon this Saturday for UFC 246, all eyes will be on the former champion who has been embroiled in out-of-the-ring issues. Since losing in an upset to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018, McGregor has smashed a fan’s phone, beat up an older man in a bar and attacked the bus carrying Nurmagomedov. He retired in March last year, but that lasted only a few months before setting up the return to the ring against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.
Unsurprisingly, his goal as of late has been to change his image. A new spot for Reebok by Deutsch New York feels right in line with that goal as McGregor takes on a new opponent—his son’s toys.
The unique art style was accomplished by puppet-master Andy Gent, the same puppeteer that worked on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs and Fantastic Mr. Fox. The McGregor action figure takes down toy after today, and the spot even captures the Irish fighter’s signature walk near the end of the 45-second spot.
The spot really gets kicking (no pun intended) at the 10-second mark when McGregor hops a toy train, lands in his Zig Kinectica’s and the beat of a bespoke action song drops. From there, puppet-McGregor beats the sauce out of a host of toys—like yetis, clowns and rabbits—that would have seemed right at home in bully Sid’s room in Toy Story.
“Conor McGregor and The Zig Kinetica is a creatively combustible pairing. On the one hand, you have a global celebrity well-known for never knowing what he’ll do, and on the other, you have the Zig, which could be one of the most unique, culture-bending products in Reebok’s arsenal,” said Dan Kelleher, CCO of Deutsch New York. “Our job was to find a story that utilized both in the most unexpected way possible.”
McGregor certainly is unpredictable. While that has become an issue in recent months, that same energy was what made him such a polarizing fighter throughout his career. For Reebok, sticking with McGregor through the problems—which include two allegations of sexual assault along with the violent outbursts—indeed had to be a tough decision.
“I’ve been around with Reebok a long time now, and each launch, the energy level is climbing,” said McGregor. “Now, we are exploding.”
Athletic brands have had to make tough decisions with off-the-field issues for plenty of athletes. Reebok has been clear that they are in McGregor’s corner, and it will be interesting to see where the path leads from here.
Deutsch New York
Chief Creative Officer: Dan Kelleher
Executive Creative Director: Pete Johnson
Creative Director: Marques Gartrell
Director of Integrated Production: Joe Calabrese
Director of Art Production: Sarah Manna
Producer: Shelby Remer
Head of Design: Roger Bova
Design Director: Joanna Durkalec
Designer: Laura Chang
Senior Print Producer: Jeanette Luis
Art Producer: Dana Kandic
Chief Strategy Officer: Matt Baker
Group Strategy Director: Garett Awad
Group Account Director: Andrew Arnot
Account Director: Silvia Lacayo
Account Executive: Maria Rivadeneira
Project Manager: Allison Wang
Associate Business Affairs Manager: Nikki Belekjian
Assistant Account Executive: Sean Onwualu
Riff Raff Films
Director: Sacred Egg
Exec Producer: Matthew Fone
Line Producer: Cathy Hood
Stop Motion Model Build & Animation:
Builder/Designer: Andy Gent
Editor: Mike Mallen
Animation: Rob Bischoff, John Hatheway
Producer: Zack Herpy
Audio Post: Honeymix NYC
Mixer: Sloan Alexander, Human
Music & Sound Design:
Producer: James Wells
Compositing & VFX:
Brand New School
Colorist: Mikey Rossiter
Producer: Evan Bauer