McCann San Francisco & T.A.G. called on the talents of New Deal Studios for the launch of Xbox 360‘s “Halo 3,” the most anticipated Xbox 360 videogame release of 2007. McCann San Francisco & T.A.G. and digital agency AKQA teamed on “Believe,” an integrated effort comprised of television commercials and an interactive web site, all featuring images from a miniature diorama created by renowned visual effects company New Deal Studios. New Deal also produced the photography of the visuals for the commercial and interactive website, while Matthew Gratzner, Creative Director and Co-Founder, designed and directed the visuals for the interactive website.
To view the interactive website, go to:
Both the “Halo 3” television commercial and the interactive web site allow viewers to explore a 1,200 square-foot (1:12 scale) diorama, created by New Deal Studios, of a historic “Halo” moment, the Battle of New Mombasa. The elements combine to make myth and hero of protagonist Master Chief and infuse historical depth to the “Halo” story, in an attempt to broaden the game‘s demographic beyond loyal gamers.
McCann San Francisco & T.A.G. worked with Director Rupert Sanders of MJZ for the live-action production of the television commercial; New Deal Studios for the creation and photography of the 30‘ x 40‘ diorama; and Stan Winston for the creation of 650 realistic figurines. New Deal designed and built the diorama in an incredibly short, four-week timeframe under the creative direction of Matthew Gratzner. Photography for the commercial occurred over one week and the interactive website visuals, directed by Gratzner, was a 3-day shoot. The diorama was comprised of the vast landscapte, still–frame explosions, buildings, destruction debris, freeway sections, Banshee, Scorpion and Warthog Vehicles.
For Matthew Gratzner, Co-Founder and Creative Supervisor, of New Deal Studios, this “Believe” campaign was a rewarding opportunity to apply his team of artists‘ talents from the feature film arena to the commercial, interactive and gaming worlds. “Being asked to build by hand a commemorative battle from this popular gaming experience was something that had never been done before,” comments Gratzner. “So it was a great honor to create what really is an art piece, and a frozen moment in time, all practically without the use of visual or digital effects.”
Gratzner notes that the best part is the overwhelming positive feedback from die-hard fans, as well as new followers of the ‘Halo‘ saga, who are most excited by the diorama‘s “authenticity.” So much so, that the diorama is scheduled to tour around the country at “Halo 3” launch events, as well as several museums.
“We went to the top craftspeople at MJZ, New Deal and Stan Winston Studios,” states Taylor Smith, Xbox Group Marketing Communications Manager. “When I walked through the diorama on pre-production day, I was so pleased that we had nailed it. Every detail was perfect. Everyone at New Deal Studios stayed true to the fiction of the game of ‘Halo 3‘ and I really give them a great deal of credit for creating something that looks exactly like the ‘Halo 3‘ world.”
“In short, New Deal rocks,” adds John Jakubowski, Creative Director at digital agency, AKQA. “They were an amazing partner for the ‘Halo 3‘ shoot. Their expertise and professionalism is only surpassed by their passion for what they do. Matthew Gratzner and team took our concepts and not only executed them flawlessly, but took them to an entirely new level. They epitomize a team that are so confident in their field, they thrive on creative problem solving.”
“The premise of ‘Believe‘ hinges on an honest and sincere believe in the ideals of heroism,” concludes Chris McDonald, Account Director at McCann San Francisco. “The diorama not only had to pass the realism test of the Halo Nation; but also pass the test of how we as a society honor our real heroes. The care and attention that Matthew and his team put into creating the diorama was nothing short of creating a real-life monument.”
About New Deal Studios:
New Deal Studios, Inc is a full service visual effects studio in its twelfth year of business. Started in 1995 by Matthew Gratzner, Ian Hutner and Shannon Blake Gans as a design and miniature effects facility, over the years it has developed into a full service visual effects studio, always with an eye toward producing it‘s own projects. New Deal has a full complement of creative services for motion pictures, broadcast, commercial and large format projects that include design, miniature effects, production services and digital effects.
New Deal currently is the leader in the miniature effects niche of the visual effects industry and has continued to build up its stellar reputation as filmmakers that specialize in effects work with successful expansion into photography 6 years ago and digital effects 3 years ago. The company‘s competitive edge has always been extraordinary creativity matched with strong management practices. This is the solid foundation upon which New Deal has grown over the years and why all the major studios continue to entrust New Deal with high-profile projects such as Superman Returns, Spider-man III, Die Hard 4, Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed and Robert De Niro‘s‘s The Good Shepherd.
# # #
About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is a superior video game and entertainment system delivering the best games, unique entertainment features and a unified online gaming network that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 will have a portfolio of more than 300 games and will be available in nearly 40 countries by the end of 2007. More information can be found online at
About “Halo 3”
Created by legendary developer Bungie Studios and exclusive to the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, “Halo 3” will set a new standard for interactive storytelling and social gaming by engaging consumers worldwide in Master Chief‘s epic battle to save humankind. In November 2004, the world‘s view of video games changed forever with the release of “Halo 2,” which generated a record-setting $125 million (U.S.) in sales within the first 24 hours and changed the way people think about interactive entertainment. Three years later, it remains the most-played game on Microsoft‘s Xbox LIVE® online gaming and entertainment network, with nearly one billion hours of online gaming logged to date. For more information visit:
About McCann San Francisco & T.A.G.
McCann Erickson Worldwide is the world‘s leading global advertising agency network, with operations in more than 130 countries and a client roster that includes preeminent global marketers and many of the world‘s most famous brands. The agency is a unit of McCann Worldgroup, one of the largest marketing communications companies in the world, which is part of the U.S.-based Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:IPG).
Founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco, T.A.G. is a creative and strategic agency focused on connecting brands and people through culturally relevant ideas and media agnostic executions. T.A.G. is led by Scott Duchon (Creative Director), Geoff Edwards (Creative Director), Mike Harris (Strategic Director) and Nils Peyron (Managing Director) whose collective experience includes work on brands such as Nike, adidas, Fox Sports, Gatorade, and Levi’s. For all T.A.G. related questions, please contact Nils Peyron at
AKQA is the leading independent digital marketing agency with more than 600 employees in San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., London, Shanghai and its newest office in Amsterdam. AKQA provides digital strategy, creative and technology solutions to the world’s leading marketers, including Coca-Cola, Diageo, McDonald‘s, Nike, Unilever and Visa. For more information about AKQA, visit