Creative agency barrettSF recently launched “Welcome to Suplex City,” a multimedia marketing campaign to support WWE® 2K17, the next release in 2K’s flagship WWE video game franchise. WWE 2K17 is scheduled for worldwide release on the PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 systems, as well as Xbox One and Xbox 360, on Oct. 11.

“Welcome to Suplex City” is WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar’s catchphrase, as well as the title of a TV spot, UGC promotion, multi-component digital campaign, in-store effort and print ad that will introduce WWE 2K17 to consumers around the world. It’s also “a living, breathing and extremely dangerous place,” per 2K. Suplex City comes to life in ancillary storytelling content, such as interactive maps that reveal residents of the city’s neighborhoods, as well as game information.

The live-action TV spot opens on the outskirts of a post-apocalyptic city in ruins. As the action moves inside the city limits, several WWE Superstars, including Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Big Show and Sheamus, are seen taking care of the competition by such means as dumpster dumping and jukebox slamming as the viewer narrowly escapes and encounters subsequent crimes.

Eventually, we reach a dark, ominous and Thunderdome-type cage crawling with cheering fans, and … out walks Brock Lesnar. As the camera zooms out, the scene reveals a dozen screens showing WWE 2K17 gameplay footage on stacks of old TVs in a window display of a Suplex City appliance store. The spot tags with: “Welcome to Suplex City.”

In a shocking juxtaposition, the entire spot is backed by Petula Clark’s 1965 hit, “Downtown.”

“It’s part post-apocalyptic wasteland, part Burning Man festival and part Banksy’s Dismaland,” is how barrettSF’s ECD Pete Harvey colorfully described the spot. “Suplex City is referenced everywhere in WWE, so it was time to make the fictional place come alive.” This is barrettSF’s third year of collaborating on creative for the WWE 2K franchise.  

WWE 2K17 features stunning graphics, ultra-authentic gameplay and a massive roster of WWE and NXT's popular Superstars and Legends. Developed collaboratively by Yuke’s and Visual Concepts, a 2K studio, WWE 2K17 is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB. In addition, Lesnar’s likeness is featured on the cover of the game box.

Screenwork Credits

2K Sports - Client

Chris Snyder: VP of Marketing, Bryce Yang: Director of Brand Marketing, Ediz Basol: Product Manager, Bob Hearon: Marketing Coordinator, Mitchell Jagodinski: Marketing Coordinator, Bryan Vore: Community Manager, Jaime Jensen: Senior Communications Manager

barrettSF - agency

Executive Creative Director: Pete Harvey, Executive Creative Director: Jamie Barrett, Creative Director: Todd Eisner, Associate Creative Director: Brad Kayal, Senior Copywriter: Jake Reilly, Senior Art Director: Jen Hart, Managing Director: Patrick Kelly, Account Director: Emily Nolan, Account Supervisor: Michael Reardon, Account Manager: Emily Brody, Head of Production: Conor Duignan, Producer: Rob Lee, Associate Producer: Charlotte Dugoni, Business Affairs Manager: Tricia Krasneski

MJZ - Production Company

Director: Rocky Morton, DP: Kristian Kachikis, Production Designer: Francis Whitebloom, Line Producer: Helen Hollien, Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson, President: David Zander,

Casting Agency: Gabrielle Schary Casting

Editorial Company: Whitehouse Post

Editor: Corky DeVault and Brian Gannon, Asst. Editor: Brad Dupuie, Producer: Jonlyn Williams, Executive Producer: Joni Williamson

Telecine: Company 3

Colorist: Bryan Smaller

Mix: M Squared

Engineer(s): Mark Pitchford and Phil Lantz

Final Online: Carbon VFX

Producer: Devon Irete

Pixomondo - Visual Effects 

VFX Supervisor: Boris Schmidt, On-Set Supervisor: Randall Smith, VFX Executive Producer: Mandie Briney, VFX Producer: John Baer, Production Manager: Kristin Patterson, VFX Coordinator: Octevia Robertson, Flame Artist: Dave Levine, Compositor: Spencer Hecox, Compositor(s): Lance Ranzer, Patrick Reily, Niki Yoblonski; Matte Painter(s): Richard Lee, Chris Howe, Deanna Davies, Jeremy Melton, Matchmove Supervisor: Danny Garcia, Matchmove Artist: Daniel Erickson

M Squared - Sound Design

Sound Designer(s): Mark Pitchford and Phil Lantz, Producer: Sarah Benedict