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The Super Bowl commercial titled ‘2012’ promotes the Chevy Silverado and is an amusing take on the end of the world – an event apparently completely survivable, providing you drive the right vehicle. Method Studios was excited to collaborate with DGA award-winning director Noam Murro and agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in realizing the desolate landscape, complete with a flying saucer, giant robot, volcano and toads raining from the sky.


The Super Bowl presents a yearly highlight in the US television commercials industry and to stand out from the crowd, the Method artists knew they had to produce visual effects more typically seen in a Hollywood blockbuster. Murro was keen to utilize the skill set and pipeline available at Method Studios, which in this instance included the sharing of tasks between LA and Australia, in order to deliver highly crafted work in a commercial based timescale.


During the 60 second ad, the aim was to represent a world destroyed by a multitude of catastrophic events. Creative Director/VFX Supervisor Benjamin Walsh notes, "Each post apocalyptic vignette had to be recognizable in a short amount of screen time, so the challenge was to find a balance between a cliché design aesthetic and a more abstract one."

Method undertook some initial concept work and was part of the overall location and tech scout with the production team. Several plates were filmed at Universal Studios in LA, including the final street gathering of survivors which was shot on the New York backlot. “We had to replace most of the building backgrounds for most of the shots but we kept the cars, the road and we dressed it with a lot of debris,” said Walsh.

One shot which contains a very minimal amount of filmed footage is the volcano scene. The Chevy was filmed in the distance with close up rock debris in the foreground and the rest of the final shot was built up with layers of matte paintings. The scene was developed over the course of the post production process and at times didn’t feature a volcano but a crashed UFO – the final result ended up including a glowing meteor instead.


To complete the full plethora of apocalyptic events, the commercial culminates with a plague of frogs raining down onto the hood of the indestructible truck. This presented an interesting challenge to the team as the CG frogs needed to look realistic and yet maintain a ‘tongue in cheek’ vibe. Rob Hodgson, VFX Supervisor notes: “We came up with a nice balance between happy frog and ugly toad which bounce after their fall. It’s the end of the world as we know it, but we all feel fine – including the frogs!”


Method was thrilled to collaborate on a record seven Super Bowl commercials for 2012, a good chunk of which, like the Chevy ad, were extremely VFX heavy. Dan Glass, Method’s EVP and Senior VFX Supervisor notes, “This is our strongest Super Bowl yet and has resulted in successful collaboration throughout our multiple Method sites”.


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