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This Is Play

Betfair pays homage to Paul the Octopus — who correctly predicted the outcome of games during the 2010 World Cup — in this ad starring our eight-armed hero playing (and winning) four games of table tennis simultaneously. The spot was shown as part of ITV’s coverage of the 2014 tournament in Brazil, including during the final. As part of the same campaign, viewers may recall a publicity stunt where a truck carrying a giant model of said octopus conveniently broke down right in the middle of Oxford Circus.

Some rather clever editing and choreography was required to depict the flow of four concurrent games, and determine where the ping-pong balls and the octopus’s arms needed to be. The players and tables were the only elements shot in-camera, with the octopus as well as all of the stadium background being created in post. Riggers and animators on the show had an extremely tricky job to get the octopus to achieve the poses and movements being asked of it. As lighting lead, my main task was to create a light rig to match what was shot, as well as building geometry to recreate the set in order that the CG octopus could convincingly exist in the same world as the live-action elements.

  • Date June 2014
  • Format 30" TV commercial
  • Client Betfair
  • Agency WCRS / Hogarth Worldwide
  • Studio Gramercy Park Studios
  • Director Walter Stern