X-Box

Coca-Cola’s Polar Bowl, and “The Catch”.

Wieden & Kennedy have spent the last three months watching old football reels, and game play to help prepare for the integrated advertising campaign they have prepared for Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl effort this year.

As part of a Facebook campaign at http://www.cokepolarbowl.com, Wieden & Kennedy have prepared two versions of a 60-second spot slated to run during the second quarter. The spot that airs will be based on who has the lead at half time. In case of a tie, the commercial that airs will be based on the most recent plays and which team is most in need of a Coke.

The ad is a simple concept. The “Catch,” shows two polar bears watching the Super Bowl, each wearing a scarf in his team’s colors: red and white for the Giants and blue and white for the Patriots. During a commercial break, one of the bears steps outside and sees a group of polar bears lounging and drinking Coke. One of the bears tosses him a Coke and he fumbles the bottle. An acrobatic dance across the ice ensues until he slides to a halt with the bottle finally secured. The bear whose team is losing will be the one to step outside the cave.

This is really a cutting edge campaign. The technical challenge of managing the time-delay on bear responses, plus timing to the last-minute on which commercial will run. I’m sure NBC is not really thrilled with the idea of this style of campaign becoming common place, but the concept is brilliant.To help manage all of the back-end work needed to pull this off,

NBC and Wieden & Kennedy will have execs on site at NBC and ESPN to manage different versions of the broadcast ads. Coke project lead Pio Schunker will have a command center in New York, where a team and key execs from Wieden & Kennedy will manage the live Facebook stream and animation of the bears. that team will be located in a control room at Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media group. Using a hacked Xbox system, the creative team from Wieden & Kennedy will manipulate the bears to respond to what is going on in real time. The actions, whether a “Sigh” or a happy dance, are slightly randomized, so even the creative puppeteers, don’t know exactly which action the bears will do.

“Watching the game this year? So are the Coca-Cola® Polar Bears. On February 5th, join the Polar Bears as they watch the game and chat with fans LIVE at www.CokePolarBowl.com. For each RSVP, Coca-Cola will donate $1 to World Wildlife Fund to help polar bears and their Arctic home.* RSVP now and visit www.CokePolarBowl.com on game day to hang out and chat with the Coke Polar Bears during the game. And don’t worry; they’ll bring their own Coke.

Visit www.CokePolarBowl.com on your mobile device, too! You’ll see a constant stream of real-time, shareable highlights from the LIVE polar bears to send to fellow fans, friendly rivals and other polar bears (if you know any).”