Merchandise just flies off the shelves—and cavorts madly until dawn!—at the Dick's Sporting Goods we visit in this frenetic holiday commercial from Anomaly and production house MPC.
Golf clubs, hoodies, catcher's mitts, baseball bats, tennis rackets, balls of all kinds and so very many shoes—most notably, a Nike Air Max 270 React sneaker—come to life after hours and enjoy some magical, holly-jolly playtime.
Ad geeks might have caught the cute callback to "The Table," Dick's 2018 Ping-Pong-themed holiday spot, which won the Grand Clio in Film at this year's Clio Sports Awards.
Inspired by Night at the Museum, the energetic, CGI-driven 90-second spot was co-directed in breathless style by Shawn Levy and Will Gluck. The former produced the Museum films, while the latter helms TV shows Woke and Encore!
The full-length spot breaks on TV this weekend during NBC's Sunday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams.
The "transformative" nature of sports-related gifts inspired the campaign, according to Anomaly group creative director Seth Jacobs. "When you pick up a bat, a ball, a glove or a stick, you stop thinking about who you are, and you start imagining what you can become," he says. "For us, it was all about unleashing the life and energy that lives in those inanimate objects."
Anomaly's past experience filming ads on location once customers and staff have left for the day informed the commercial's vibrant vibe. "We've been there, in the quiet of the after hours, and it's a pretty cool experience," Jacobs says. "Lights off, silent night, surrounded by some of the coolest sports gear there is. It feels like it's staring at you, begging you to play. And we do. All night long we find creatives, clients, directors, everyone grabbing a bat, tossing a ball, swinging a golf club. Play is unavoidable."
Although products in aisles have come alive in commercials many times before, "we think there's a deeper truth to that when it comes to sporting goods at Dick's," Jacobs says.
Humans briefly appear at the start and end of the ad. Overall, the approach marks a distinct change from "The Table" and Dick's other previous holiday offerings, like "The Glove" and "The Hoop," which focused on personal stories, with products serving as linchpins for the narratives.
"This year, for our annual holiday campaign, we decided to try something new with our first-ever animated ad spot," says client marketing chief Ed Plummer. "The animation in this spot brings to life the retail experience at Dick's and many of our top products through a new lens."
For this spot, dubbed "The New Kid" (after the aforementioned Nike sneaker, a recent arrival in the store), the creative team took care to make sure the 45 bespoke animated characters came to life in exactly the right way.
"What is a baseball glove's personality compared to a Ping-Pong ball's?" says Jacobs. "Those are the types of odd questions you find yourself wrestling with on projects like these, and MPC were right there with us the whole time. Their work was always infused with a genuine humanity and a desire to make every shot, every tiny detail, as magical and exciting as it could be."
The behind-the-scenes video below delves into the animation process, which we're told took 13 weeks and 150 artists across five countries to complete:
Directors: Shawn Levy and Will Gluck
Production Company: Pacific Rim
CGI: MPC NY