UK-based sportsbook and gambling operator Ladbrokes released a new promotional video continuing the company’s WePlayTogether advertising campaign. The minute and a half clip is based on the legendary “Rocky’s run” scene from the 1979 movie Rocky II and features a heavily edited take on the original footage, seamlessly integrating newly shot content with the help of modern CGI.
An Iconic Sequence Brought to the Modern Day
The average viewer might take a few moments to notice the changes in the iconic sequence, which starts in much the same way. Rocky starts his famous run accompanied by his “‘Gonna Fly Now” theme song, rearranged by the English Session Orchestra and featuring the London Voices Choir.
The edits to the original footage quickly become apparent, as Sylvester Stallone’s character is joined by an ever-increasing number of people like footballers, jockeys, wrestlers, and even drag queens. By the time Rocky climbs the steps towards the Philadelphia Museum of Art, he is trailed by a massive and diverse crowd and flanked by motorcycles doing tricks. All of this has been seamlessly added to create a visually impressive and somewhat surreal experience, which ends with Ladbrokes’ WePlayTogether slogan.
Neverland Created a Visual Spectacle
The promotional footage was created by Neverland Creative, a London-based agency that has worked on some of Ladbrokes’ previous ad campaigns. They used cutting-edge VFX motion capture technology to alter the original clip. Neverland took footage of 250 new and colorful characters, which they shot in Budapest and masterfully integrated into the iconic sequence.
There’s a number of firsts that are happening here in terms of the scale… but also some of the techniques in production.Stewart Townsend, Ladbrokeshead of brand marketing
Neverland attracted Nicolai Fugslig as director, relying on his previous experience creating ads for high-profile brands like Nike, Heineken, Canon, Mercedes-Benz, and Sony. The creative team admitted that the endeavor had taken a substantial amount of time, effort, and talent but proudly described it as a new benchmark in filmmaking.
This is the most audacious and exciting creative idea I’ve ever been a part of.Jon Forsyth, Neverland founder, and creative director
The Clip Left Viewers with Mixed Feelings
The new ad received mixed feedback on social media. While most viewers agreed that it was an impressive technical achievement, many were critical of footage from such a beloved movie being used to promote a gambling operator. Several Twitter users drew attention to the £17 million fine that Entain, the company behind the Ladbrokes brand, recently received. The UK Gambling Commission discovered several safe gambling and anti-money laundering breaches and shortcomings.
Despite the backlash, Entain is enjoying steady growth. The gambling operator did not disclose how much it paid for the new marketing campaign. However, considering the source footage and the impressive visual effects, the ad must have been a substantial investment.
The company recently released its H1 financial results, reporting an increase in gross profits by 17% to $1.61 billion and projected EBITDA of up to $1.18 billion for the year.