Insurance From A New Perspective

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After losing your life savings at the Treasure Island Casino and pawning off all your valubles, you might be inclined to run into oncoming traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard. In your haste, you may fail to notice that the red convertible barreling down the apparent cross street is in fact an optical illusion created by Nationwide's new stairway billboard. Looking like a scene from Peter Yates' Bullitt or just about any Michael Bay flick, the new outdoor campaign promotes the slogan "Life Comes At You Fast." Located on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Fashion Show Drive, the physical dominance of the installation combined with the high concentration of pedestrians and traffic alike, it creates quite a dramatic impact on the passer-by. We spoke with Bob Brihn, group creative director and Jason Sternberg, art director for TM Advertising about the process behind orchestrating such a project.

"Obviously, ideas like people falling down stairs seemed a bit expected, and, besides, they'll do that on their own, which is just an added benefit," says Brihn. "This message had to be exciting to the viewer, and it had to compete graphically with all the other messages that the average Vegas consumer encounters. We really wanted to use the staircase to our advantage with this execution. It's great how the car feels as if it's flying, and people walking up the stairs become a part of the visual. They're in harm's way."

Nationwide and TM Advertising chose effects team Diesel FX and adStepĀ® graphics by StareWays to help conquer the challenges of optics and perspective on such a large scale. As one could probably imagine, this created a unique set of production and creative obstacles. "Producing a staircase is no easy task," says Sternberg. "Since this format was completely new to us, we had to take baby steps throughout the entire process. Diesel FX was great, and they made the process seamless. Remember, you're taking a two-dimensional image and expanding over approximately 480 sq. feet of staircase. There is a dramatic perspective shift that takes place with a staircase, and that had to be completely thought through with consideration to the perspective of the hill and the car and all that we shot on location. It was no easy feat. Again, Diesel was great. They first tech scouted the staircase and then, using that information, went ahead and shot the hill. It was such a tedious process for them because each step had to be taken into consideration in order to be completely accurate on exactly where things were going to land on every single step."

After calculating picture planes, vanishing points and ground planes the installation was put on hold for several days due to a torrential downpour that literally flooded the streets of Vegas--yet another challenge for the creatives and VFX personnel to overcome before unveiling the illusion to the Sin City gamblers. Now, if you do lose all your loot at the roulette tables and make a dash into traffic, let's hope you've taken advantage of Nationwide's services first. To discuss this article, visit the Creativity Forums.
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