McCann Stages Fantastic Journey for Halo 3

LOS ANGELES Microsoft Xbox breaks a 60-second spot today on ESPN’s Monday Night Football for its Halo 3 game.

The spot shows two kids lying in a field looking up at the stars and wondering if they’ll ever make contact with beings from other worlds. “Do you think we will ever meet them?” one asks. “I hope so, don’t you?” the other replies. A sudden blast transforms the setting into a war zone as the boys’ voices become a distant echo. The game’s hero, Master Chief, puts on his helmet, activates a force field to avoid destruction and leaps into a futuristic sci-fi battle. The tagline is for Xbox itself: “Jump in.”

Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson in San Francisco fashioned the commercial.

“Xbox is a brand, but Halo, as the piece of intellectual property is the franchise,” said Jeff Bell, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of global marketing. He said Microsoft hopes the launch will “re-energize” the title in concert with the “groundbreaking partnership with [director] Peter Jackson,” who has been signed to produce the movie project.

Scott Duchon and Geoff Edwards are the lead creatives on Microsoft Xbox at McCann.

“The purpose was to do something entertaining and compelling for fence-sitter video gamers as well as Halo fans,” said Duchon. “Halo 2’s opening weekend was $250 million, which is bigger than any movie. That has created a Halo nation of anticipation.”

“I’ve worked on video games for a long time, but there is nothing quite like this set of fans,” Duchon said. “We wanted to create a compelling storyline emotional arc for them. And it is an interesting conundrum to talk to this person who may have heard of Halo or not.”

Since the game is not available until 2007, Duchon added that there would be “a lot more communication to come.”