The Great One Vs. Plastics

Hockey star Wayne Gretzky has come out of retirement to be commissioner of the new “Bubble Boys Hockey League” in an Anheuser-Busch campaign launched by Fusion Idea Lab.
The Chicago shop teamed with production company Visitor, which produced and directed the effort, to bring to life the tabletop hockey players oft found in sports bars. The project was assigned to Fusion by the client, whose agency of record is DDB Worldwide Chicago. The TV, radio and print ads, which debuted during the Feb. 6 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto, will continue through the season.
“To me, this campaign is very much like the lizards in the beer world,” James Wahlberg, director of Visitor, Santa Monica, Calif., said. “Gretzky added an absurdity to it, which is cool.”
In one of the six TV spots, Gretzky scores a shot in a game with the tiny plastic figures. Gretzky is shrunk to appear to be their size.
“We had the challenge of bringing this game to life,” Fusion creative director Matt Brennock said. “Hockey has a small but very die-hard fan base, so it seemed like a natural fit.”
Celluloid Studios, Denver, created the figures with digital manipulation and 2D animation.
–David Lipin