Beginning in January, broadcasts of major golf events have featured a pair of :15 teaser spots for Nike Golf: One shows a golf course with square tee-boxes, shrubbery, and square ripple-emitting lily pads, and the second begins with a tight angle on one square bunker, then pulls out to reveal four similar bunkers surrounding a square green. Both spots feature a ponderous score of simple notes resonating from a piano, and end with title cards reading “See square on February 3.” Over this past weekend, during NBC’s coverage of the FBR Open, the payoff to the teaser campaign finally arrived: In a :30 version of the spot entitled “See Square,” viewers see even more footage of square golf course features, before the new Nike SQ Sumo2 driver is revealed.
This campaign is the latest to benefit from the talents of A52’s project visual effects supervisor Raul Ortego, who joined the company last March. Over the past twelve months, Ortego has added his unique VFX artistry to national TV spots for UPS via The Martin Agency and Acura for RPA, both with MJZ director Phil Joanou, for Kenmore via Y&R Chicago with MJZ director Victor Garcia, and for Helio via Deutsch/LA with director Jared Hess ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® as well as the successful launch promo campaign for SCI FI Channel’s Eureka, which was directed by MJZ’s Steven Diller. “For this spot,” Ortego explained, “Brandon Jolley, Helen Maier and Max Ulichney actually created incredibly detailed matte paintings, where they enhanced the grass and sand in every shot. We then composited in trees and bushes from reference photos.” Ortego also explained that A52’s Kirk Shintani used Maya to create the square water ripples as CGI elements, which were then composited into the scene with the lily pads to complete the vision of a square world crafted under the direction of Smuggler’s David Frankham.
Frankham, director of photography Max Malkin, and A52’s artists also contributed their talents to “Tour Dominance,” a stylized black-and-white tour de force, in which Nike Golf’s famous Tour Staff players are artistically shown using the products that led to 16 PGA TOUR victories last year. “The footage for this spot was shot with a special film stock to render black-and-white images with minimal grey tones,” said Sarah Haynes, A52’s project producer. “Raul worked very closely with Rock Paper Scissors’ Chan Hatcher to create interesting transitions and fluid movements that build the spot to a crescendo.”
Other campaign spots include “Tank,” which stars Tiger Woods and showcases the Power Platform technology behind the new Nike Golf shoe, and “One,” which introduces the reengineered Nike One ball. Each campaign spot features custom end-tags created by A52’s artists.
“In addition to creating a clear voice for our campaign through simple, yet sophisticated kinetic end-tags, A52 has crafted a wonderfully square world for us ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® where very subtle details help create an eerily realistic landscape in which to introduce a powerful new form to a relatively round sport ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® the Nike SQ Sumo2,” said Ken Meyer, who served as Wieden+Kennedy’s art director on the project. “It’s incredible to look back and see where Raul and the team were able to take it, while retaining the beauty and elegance David and Max captured in camera.”
The agency’s credits for the project included creative director Hal Curtis, copywriter Tatum Shaw and producer Jeff Selis. For Smuggler, the production team also included executive producer Brian Carmody and line producer John Bick. A52’s team also included executive producer Mark Tobin and Inferno artists Kirk Balden and Justin Blaustein, and CGI artist Paulo de Almada. Telecine was handled by Beau Leon at The Syndicate. For editorial company Rock Paper Scissors, along with editor Chan Hatcher, credits include executive producer Dave Sellars, producer Yole Barrera and assistant editor Dan Aronin. The campaign’s music and sound design were composed by Gus Koven of Stimmung, and mixer Mitch Dorf engineered the final mix for each spot at POP Sound.
Established in 1997 as a home for the very latest high-end photo-real visual effects technologies and the industry’s most innovative and talented graphic design artists, West Hollywood visual effects and design company A52 creates award-winning imagery for the world’s most visually ambitious commercial and television projects. The company’s work has earned AICP Show recognition for nine consecutive years along with recent “Outstanding Commercial” Emmy, Andy, BDA, Belding, Clio, British Design and Art Direction, International Monitor, International Automotive Advertising, London International Advertising, One Show and PROMAX awards.