Eric Fogel, the sadist-savant who created MTV's stop-motion saturnalia Celebrity Deathmatch, is out with his first series of TV spots - a Deathmatch-styled campaign, themed "Athlete Armageddon." Working out of MTV Commercials, Fogel has fashioned three Nike Shox spots for Wieden & Kennedy/Amsterdam that will play in European and Asian markets. Except for some shoe closeups, the spots are virtually indistinguishable from Deathmatch, right down to the beloved team of announcers. So since these are for typically more permissive international markets, the client had no problem with the modelmaker's mayhem? "What's strange is, at first they were skittish about how far we could push the violence," the 32-year-old Fogel recalls. "Then, once they saw the commercials and realized how cartoony it all is, they asked us to add extra violence after everything was animated." For instance, in the spot in which Dutch soccer star Edgar Davids takes on a dumptruck, "originally he had a soccer ball he was balancing on his foot. At the 11th hour, they asked us to change the ball to a human head. You don't hear that every day." Hence the delightful touch in which an announcer yells, "A sacrificial head has been thrown into the ring!"
Fogel hopes to keep the commercials head rolling, but don't pigeonhole him as a stop-motion guy. He also does cel (remember MTV's The Head?) and CG, and he's interested in live action as well. "The sensibility that I bring to Deathmatch doesn't have to be limited to animation," he believes. "It works in any medium. I hope to have a chance to prove it."