Just when you thought the infamous Clydesdales wouldn’t be making their annual appearance in this year’s Super Bowl commercial lineup, Sam Adams takes a friendly jab at the iconic horses when chaos ensues in a hilarious new spot directed by Matt Aselton of Arts & Sciences.
Introducing the brand’s new Wicked Hazy IPA beer, the spoof film by creative agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners marks the latest installment in the ‘Your Cousin from Boston’ campaign, irreverently nodding to one of the animals most synonymous with Super Bowl advertising.
In the interest of safety for all actors and animals involved, the VFX-heavy spot features a host of horses, dumpster fires, flying debris, and endless compositing magic thanks to the Framestore team. Typically the amount of mayhem and destruction seen in a spot of this magnitude would call for a traditional VFX approach incorporating CG debris and horses running amok. However, director Matt Aselton’s preference for capturing as much of the action in-camera as possible led Framestore to work closely with the art department and the special effects team to create a rig that would ram through objects at speed in a realistic manner.
The scenes were shot on a repeatable camera head, which allowed greater flexibility when it came to plating layers of the chaos and destruction, as well as the crowd and horse performances. From there, these passes were combined via the compositing process to create the shots you see in the final piece.
“As an Aussie working in the U.S. I was largely unaware of the Clydesdales’ storied history as a fixture of Super Bowl advertising, but after countless hours of watching past commercials and a thrift store copy of ‘Those Magnificent Clydesdales,’ I felt up to the task,” shared Matt Pascuzzi, VFX Supervisor at Framestore. “Any opportunity to build a giant green horse head that ploughs through a newsstand at 40mph is something I would immediately put my hand up for.”
The commercial received copious amounts of online chatter thanks in part to its early release on social prior to the Big Game (and its tongue in cheek nature), and aired on broadcast exclusively in New York and Boston.