StubHub Proves Tickets Really Do Grow on Trees

Shady character returns in Duncan/Channon spot

Here’s an outsized marketing mascot who’s never stumped when it comes to providing sports, concert and theater tickets. StubHub’s talking, animatronic oak tree, which debuted back in the spring, returns this week in “Late Night,” a new 30-second spot by San Francisco agency Duncan/Channon. The 25-foot-tall spokes-tree reminds me of a giant, anthropomorphized Chia Pet—now there’s a nightmare image—crossed with the trippy topiary that traipsed through H.R. Pufnstuf. Agency executive creative director Parker Channon tells AdFreak that the hippy-era Sid and Marty Krofft show “was absolutely one of our references,” noting, “We didn’t want CG. We wanted a creation that walked that thin line between cute and creepy like only a real-world puppet can.” Personally, I find the Ticket Oak both cool and annoying. My mood shifted from mulch-and-water-bearing love to grab-an-ax-and-start-chopping hate several times as I watched the tree interact with his dimwitted sidekick Ben, who can’t understand why his turnip plant won’t also sprout a canopy of tickets. (All sins will be forgiven if the Ticket Oak beats up Dow’s freaky bush man.) Predictably, the Ticket Oak has a strong presence on social media, and a version of the tree also makes live appearances, operated by a quartet of professional puppeteers. Says Channon: “The concept was made to ‘branch out,’ and we already have several things in the works and others already shot. Although we’re not ready to give out our secrets just yet—other than, wait till Halloween.” Branch out, huh? Look, I’m rooting for Ticket Oak to grow, but let’s prune the wordplay before it saps all the campaign’s energy. Two previous spots after the jump.