Scott & Victor, Utopic’s Olympic ‘City’ spot a winner

If there were Olympic gold for commercials currently airing in the London games, it would undoubtedly be won by the team of agency Scott & Victor and Utopic for NBC5’s ode to Chicago. 

“City” is the 60-second spot they created in record time to exclusively air on NBC throughout the 12 days of world class athleticism.

“City’s” tagline, “Bringing you the world of Chicago,” sums up the vivid black-and-white montage that captures Chicago’s diversity in all its glory.  While Chicago may have been snubbed as the host of the 2016 Olympics, “City” captures a sense of enduring pride in its accomplishments.

The 60-second spot consists of photos that were culled from “hundreds and hundreds” of stills and some archival footage provided by NBC5, “and filled in with some of our own,” explains Utopic executive post producer Heather Mitchell. 

The rush project started early on Friday, July 20, a scant week before the airdate on the July 27 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, when agency partners Scott English and Victor LaPorte, both former Leo Burnett executive creatives, brought the photos and footage to Utopic. 

“We picked the most impactful photos from the massive collection and brilliantly drilled them down to the 120 scenes that were ultimately selected,” Mitchell says.

“The agency was very pleased with the first rough cut,” assembled in Olympian speed by Utopic editor Tim Kloehn, who worked long hours over the weekend to deliver it early Monday morning.   

Apart from archival footage, some of the scenes that appear to be in motion, such as the Irish dancers, “are an illusion,” says Mitchell.  They are stills that were brought to life by graphic artists Joe Minick and Ryan Gilbert, through the use of “photogammetry,” a function of AfterEffects.  These were also created over the weekend.

NBC and the agency’s exhaustive search for the narrator came down to the finish line on Thursday, July 26, when Scott English decided on Tribune writer and author Rick Kogan.

Kogan recorded at Audio Producers Group at 1:30 p.m. and the track – directed by Utopic sound designer Brian Leitner, who had given Kogan his first voiceover job – was delivered to Utopic at 5 p.m.

With elements now completed, NBC producer Mark Cassidy hurried over to Utopic.  The finished spot was put the hard drive Cassidy had brought with him and he rushed it back to NBC for final approval.  The spot was uploaded to the network and “City” debuted around 9:45 p.m.

“It was such an honor to utilize the Utopic team dynamic, and to work in partnership with Scott & Victor to realize their vision of NBC 5’s love letter to Chicago,” says Kloehn with well-earned pride.

The agency’s Scott English was the writer and Victor LaPorte, art director. Utopic’s Michael Antonucci was executive producer.