Ad of the Day: Mass Effect 3

Draftfcb's latest trailer captures the emotion of a video game that's not that easy to advertise

Draftfcb San Francisco's new Mass Effect 3 spot does something few video-game ads have the confidence to try: It mixes live-action footage with shots created by the game's graphics engine.

Somewhat surprisingly, it does so seamlessly. The shots of parents crying and clasping their children look perfectly fine next to CGI "footage" of our hero, Shepard, dashing through the rubble and blasting his way through various monsters (possibly because we don't get to see Shepard's unobscured face).

The Mass Effect series is a difficult property to market, precisely because of the things that make it appealing. Unlike, say, fellow hardcore role-playing game Skyrim, it's a cinematic challenge with a lot of moral choices to be made—if it's anything like its predecessors, at any rate. Unlike fellow sweeping epic RPG Deus Ex: Human Revolution, it doesn't have a set protagonist. (Shepard is usually portrayed as a male because 80 percent of the players choose a man, though EA and Bioware did release one trailer for Mass Effect 3 with a female Shepard.) So, to advertise the game, you have to communicate a sense of epic sci-fi adventure while remaining coy about who, exactly, is doing the adventuring.

Draftfcb has it right with this spot—people expressing strong emotion within the world of a game that is basically selling emotional attachment to its characters. The game has gone for exactly this kind of thing before, but this spot gets what makes the games so compelling—that "Look! It's a frightened person next to an alien!" feeling, and the visceral connection that comes with it.

Also, for some reason, every big trailer-type spot so far has ended with Shepard preparing to stab that big light-up-face robo-alien-monkey thing with his glowing sword. And you know, I want to do that.

CREDITS

Client: Electronic Arts, Mass Effect 3

Agency: Draftfcb, San Francisco

Title: "Fight for Everything"

Chief Creative Officer: Chris Ford

Group Creative Directors: Tony Vazquez, Colin McRae

Associate Creative Directors: Derrick Ho, Jake Slody

Art Director: Alyssa Collis

Copywriter: Will Decher

Senior Producer: Jeremy Arth

Production Company: Caviar Content

Director: Reynald Gresset

Executive Producer: Michael Sagol, Jasper Thomlinson

Line Producer: Louis Saint-Calbre

Director of Photography: Patrick Duroux

Production Service: Unit+Sofa

Executive Producer: Fady Salame

Line Producer: Petra Ondrickova

Editorial: Whitehouse

Editor: Russell Icke

Assistant Editor: Brandon Porter

Senior Producer: Kristin Branstetter

Visual Effects: Mill London

Executive Producer: Will Cohen

Animation Director: Jean-Claude Deguara

Finishing: Mill, Los Angeles

Head of Production: Arielle Davis

Colorist: Adam Scott

Sound Design: Ren Klyce, Mit Out Sound

Audio Mix: Michael Semanick, Skywalker Sound

Audio Mix: Rohan Young, Lime Studios

Music: Human Worldwide