Feeling the Force Over Star Wars Battlefront II

November 20, 2017 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai

From clashing light sabres, to the menacing sound of the Imperial Alarm, to a TIE-fighter piñata party (!!!), Star Wars certainly means something different to a whole host of people.

In this BBH New York ad to celebrate the launch for EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II, a young padawan notices the dark side creeping in the form of a young girl moving in across the street.

Throughout the years, their rivalry goes back and forth with each side claiming their own selective wins.

Ultimately, AdWeek described the Star Wars narrative best:

Though their relationship stays platonic, the depth of passion seems positively transcendent. Their journey reminds us how rad it would be to escape our daily grind for a galaxy far far away, competing against an evenly matched soulmate/rival on fantastic battlefields beyond space and time.

This is what captured our minutes this week.

Here’s the one major reason why: storytelling.

It’s hard to find an ad these days that actually walks audiences through a story as opposed to directly through the sales funnel.  

Just as the Star Wars universe has extended into several different stories and characters throughout the years (and several is probably an understatement of how many side timelines there are), this ad immerses fans – no matter their side – in the same kind of cinematic experience that the movies delivered on and the game promises to continue.

Furthermore, this isn’t your typical narrative arc. It doesn’t end with either side winning, or one side caving to another. No, the battle continues. As it always has between the rebels and Empire. This is really what makes the story so believable.

Special effects aside, this kind of tension adds further dimension to the story while also inviting viewers to continue with their own story, within the game.

When it comes to winning the Battle for Time, we’ve said it over and over again: content that tells a different story, in a different way will cut through the clutter.

Especially with something as epic as Star Wars, an ad for a video game wouldn’t have done it all justice by simply showing scenes in the video game.

By bringing it to life for viewers, with two very relatable characters on both sides of the force, it makes interest around the game that much more tangible. They can truly make the experience their own, just as the characters in this spot did.

Just to make it that much more clear, here's a break down of the strongest points in this story: 

0:05-0:10: HERE WE GO! HERE WE GO! That glare! That side eye! Right off the get-go, the ad introduces tension. 

0:11-0:17: And now, viewers have sides. Immediately after the initial meeting, viewers have to align themselves with one side of the narrative or another, actively investing themselves in what happens next. 

0:18-0:35: And now the action begins. It's small, but mighty as each side takes steps to one up each other. And now the story becomes much more than a passive competition. 

0:35-0:59: Each side makes their move, both taking losses and gains. Can we give an honourable mention to the casting here? This is the thick of the story. 

1:00-1:45: And now we're actually in the game! Starting with an AT-AT Walker attack, viewers are now thrust headfirst into battle along with the characters. This is the climax. What's great is that it doesn't end in favour for either side - as we mentioned above, it just continues. Which viewers can do if they get the game. 

So, it’s simple. Tell a story. Just don’t pick the usual one. And don’t forget a climax.  

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

CREDITS (as listed by AdWeek)
Client: PlayStation
Film: Rivalry
Produce: PS4, Star Wars Battlefront II
Campaign Name: Greatness Awaits
Eric Lempel, Senior Vice President & Head of PlayStation Network
Mary Yee, Vice President, Marketing
Eric Lachter, Director Brand Marketing
Alex Gomez, Brand Manager
Cody Morales, Brand Manager
Renée M. Holt, Manager, Agency Partnerships
Alex Hackford, Senior Artists & Repertoire / Music Affairs
Justin Fields, Music Affairs Specialist
Agency: BBH New York
Gerard Caputo, Chief Creative Officer
Alex Booker, Creative Director
Philip Sicklinger, Creative Director
Aimée Perrin, Art Director
Stu Rubin, Copywriter
Kate Morrison, Head of Production
Adam Perloff, Executive Producer
Christopher Galvin, Associate Producer
Librado Sanchez, Breck Henson, Director of Business Affairs
Kendra Schaaf, Account Director
Johnny Skwirut, Account Manager
Kendra Salvatore, Head of Strategy
Alex Beerden, Strategist
Dylan Fauss, Strategist
Zack Green, Comms Strategist
Production Company: Hungry Man
Director: Wayne McClammy
DOP: Dion Beebe
Executive Producer: Mino Jarjoura
Line Producer: Dave Bernstein
Edit Company: Work Editorial
Editor: Jono Griffith
Assistant Editor: Ellie McNaughtan & Trevor Myers
Edit Producer: Jamie Lynn Perritt
Edit Executive Producer: Jane Dilworth
Star Wars Visual Effects Industrial Light & Magic
ILM Associate VFX Supervisor: Hayden Landis
ILM Layout Supervisor: John Levin
ILM Layout Supervisor: Talmage Watson
ILM Animation Supervisor: Paul Kavanaugh
ILM Lighting Supervising Technical Dir: Leandro Estebecorena
ILM Compositing Supervisor: Jason Porter
ILM Compositing Supervisor: Mike Conte
ILM VFX Producer: Megan Matousek
ILM Associate VFX Production Manager: Emily Nelson
“Rivalry” Vignettes Visual Effects THE MILL NY
The Mill VFX Creative Director: Nathan Kane
The Mill Lead Compositor: Siro Valente
The Mill Compositing Assists: Marco Baratto, Kyle Zemborain
The Mill CG Lead: Christian Neilson
The Mill Shoot Supervisors: Nathan Kane , Gregory Gangemi
The Mill Executive Producer: Chris Kiser
The Mill Senior Producer: Nirad “Bugs” Russell
The Mill Line Producer: Perry Tate
The Mill Production coordinator: Zach Fortin
Colorist: Fergus McCall
Audio House: Skywalker Sound
Re-recording/Mixer Bonnie Wild
Star Wars Music Composed by: John Williams
Star Wars Music Master: Lucasfilms /Disney
Star Wars Music Publishing: Disney ; Warner/Chappel
Original Music Composed by Phil Kay
Original Music Company Woodwork Music

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