BEHIND THE SCENES: How PlayStation Faked The Chicago Cubs Winning The World Series

cubs win playstationThat Wrigley Field sign is real.

Photo: Deutsch LA

In spring, Sony launched “MLB 12: The Show,” the latest edition of its blockbuster PlayStation game. Its ad agency, Deutsch LA, was tasked with producing an ad that would build buzz beyond the hardcore of sports gamers who would buy the game anyway.The ad they made—which shows unlikely but apparently “real” footage of the Chicago Cubs winning the 2012 World Series—went viral quickly, and the video has been viewed 3 million times on YouTube in addition to its heavy TV media schedule.

Skip to see how the ad was made >
The team that made the ad (
Sony Computer Entertainment America sports product marketing manager Tyler Vaught, and ad agency 
Deutsch LA’s evp/group creative director Jason Elm, senior art director
 Gordy Sang, and senior copywriter Brian Siedband) talked to BI Advertising recently to tell us how the ad—which mostly uses real footage, not video gameplay—was created.

One fact of note: while Siedband is a Cubs fan, Deutsch neglected to inform Sony that Sang is a White Sox fan until after the company approved the ad.

Here's the office in which Deutsch LA senior art director Gordy Sang and senior copywriter Brian Siedband work on the PlayStation account.

This is an early storyboard idea for the ad. You can see that little changed between conception and execution.

Sony did a lot of research on their gamer fanbase. One message kept coming back: Show us how realistic the game is.

The problem was that many games are already advertised around the idea that their graphics are extremely realistic.

Deutsch presented these rough comps to Sony. The action was to start far from Wrigley Field, with fans celebrating the final pitch in a Chicago sports bar.

Each scene brings the viewer closer to Wrigley Field itself.

This was the key frame, according to Sang: A mockup photo of mass hysteria at Wrigley Field.

As fans inside the stadium celebrate ...

... the camera reveals that the Cubs have not, in fact, won the series.

It's just a guy playing MLB 12 on PlayStation.

Director Matt Aselton persuaded the team that shooting in Chicago would be better than using an LA soundstage. They chose the Twin Anchors bar in Old Town for the opening scene.

The cityscape was a computer mockup based on the way the buildings were actually lit up when the White Sox won the series in 2005.

Here's how it looks in the ad.

Deutsch used the same roof from the movie Dark Knight to get a wide shot of the city.

Here's how it looked in the ad.

Deutsch got this unplanned shot of an empty office. The lonely man jumping for joy was shot separately and edited in later.

This guy's beard is real but he's cutting hair extensions attached to it. There were only enough extensions for three takes.

This is real news footage of Cubs fans going ballistic in 2003 after the infamous Steve Bartman incident, in which a fan caught a foul ball and prevented Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou from making a crucial catch.

The priest in his vestry is an actor (obviously) sitting in a closet in the basement of Wrigley Field.

The riot scene was shot outside Slugger's bar, across the street from Wrigley Field. There were about 120 extras pretending to go crazy.

Deutsch wanted to keep the shoot a secret, so the message on the Wrigley Field sign displayed only briefly during filming. It was digitally enhanced in post-production.

Deutsch got permission to film inside Wrigley Field itself.

Here's how it looked in the ad.

The people in the foreground are really sitting in the Wrigley stands, but everything on the field is obscured by a green screen.

That was done so Deutsch could edit actual imagery from MLB 12 gameplay onto the field. Those are game avatars, not real baseball players!

Footage of the gamer whose Cubs have just won the series inside his PlayStation was shot in this Chicago apartment ...

... which really does have an elevated train right outside the window.

Here's how it looked in the ad.

When the ad was released on March 6, athletes and stars sponsored by PlayStation, such as Snoop Dogg and Shawn Michaels, tweeted about it to build buzz.

Here's the end result: 3 million views and counting.

The credits.

Tyler Vaught
Sports Product Marketing Manager
Sony Computer Entertainment America
Jason Elm
EVP, Group Creative Director
Deutsch LA
Gordy Sang
Senior Art Director
Deutsch LA
Brian Siedband
Senior Copywriter
Deutsch LA

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