A new commercial from State Street Global Advisors and McCann New York—the team behind the award-winning "Fearless Girl" statue—is now turning to another "fearless" icon—boxing hero Sugar Ray Leonard.
The ad celebrates the resilience of mid-sized business in the pandemic through the metaphor of Leonard in the ring. One of boxing’s greatest middleweights, he is depicted being knocked down and recovering, together with a selection of others representing MidCap businesses – a pilot, a chef, a medical researcher, a corporate leader and a steel welder.
"One day, you've got to take a hit you didn't see coming," says the voiceover by the real-life Leonard (who is also a motivational speaker) in the voiceover. "And it won't matter what hit you, what matters is, you're down." He finishes by asking, "Do you stay down, or you find, somewhere deep inside of you, the resilience to get up?"
The spot was directed by Smuggler's Henry-Alex Rubin, using a Sugar Ray lookalike and CGI and working with New York-based VFX specialists Preymaker and creative director Angus Kneale.
According to a McCann spokesman, the process began with an extensive search to find someone who had a similar physique to Sugar Ray Leonard, similar face structure and who could also box and move like an athlete. The team then worked with a boxing coach to refine his movement, stances and posture.
Preymaker took detailed still photographs of Sugar Ray’s face today, supplementing them with archival shots dating back to his years as champ, and then recreated his face and body pixel by pixel. This was made doubly hard by the creative idea of Sugar Ray falling through the air in extreme slow-motion, as he had to be created in both 2D and 3D.
Leonard himself approved the entire process at every stage.