Cyberpunks Clash in Future Western Super Bowl Showdown for CrowdStrike

Cyberpunks Clash in Future Western Super Bowl Showdown for CrowdStrike

Feb. 12, 2024

Global cybersecurity leader CrowdStrike has joined forces with Zoic Studios and RadicalMedia for a Super Bowl LVIII commercial where sci-fi meets the Wild West. The spot, titled ‘The Future’, premieres in one of the prime time slots just preceding Usher’s halftime show.

The cinematic spot unfolds in the old west unlike it’s ever been seen before - horses pull hovercrafts past a bionic bartender’s saloon where a hologram plays the piano. The peace is almost breached when a gang of robotic adversaries, representing cybersecurity threats, intrude upon the scene. Fortunately, they’re left exposed and running for cover when a hero armed with CrowdStrike protection emerges to save the day.

CrowdStrike and Zoic Studios initially collaborated on the Adversary characters, designed to represent viruses and other threats, for a different spot. For this iteration, the brand’s in-house creative team wanted to make a statement worthy of the prime time moment. Leveraging Zoic’s experience on some of the largest shows in television and streaming, the two worked to incorporate the adversaries into a futuristic western scene - a stand out concept both familiar and new. With close collaboration throughout the entire process, Crowdstrike and Zoic sought a balance that would allow the characters to shine and entertain while staying true to the brand’s vision, explaining how its AI-powered software protects networks and businesses around the world.

During the campaign’s evolution, the Zoic team strived to find new ways to achieve - and surpass - visual targets more efficiently. The use of Gravity Sketch in VR served as the initial pass for the majority of the designs, allowing multiple versions to be worked through at speed; Houdini and Blender, meanwhile, were utilised to build and define procedural workflows, expediting the iteration process when detailing the surfaces of the environment, characters, and props. This strategic process of refinement extended onto set, where iPad Pros and Procreate became dynamic tools for concepting during takes, eliciting  real time feedback from the client, director, and production designer.

Going all out for the Super Bowl, Zoic was granted greater budget and timeline flexibility, empowering the team with the resources to truly push the visuals to the next level. Director Tarsem Singh, DoP Brendan Galvin, and production designer Ged Clarke were key to the campaign’s success: the high quality raw footage they captured let the VFX studio focus on enhancement over correction.

Julien Brami, Creative Director at Zoic Studios, commented: 

“We’ve shared a strong connection with CrowdStrike ever since the first phone call - Doug Finelli, Zandy Ariss, and Marcus Johnson are all highly talented creatives who know how to communicate their direction clearly. As we’ve developed these adversaries together, we’ve really evolved our relationship and established a harmonious creative workflow. This time, they brought strong ideas for the overall feel of the final assets without being tied to specifics, allowing us to explore new ideas. We’d love for the audience to want to see more from the universe and characters - and we’re ready to explore new adversaries further if the opportunity arises!”

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