NEW YORK CITY — One of Super Bowl LIII’s most talked about spots came from a collaboration between Bud Light and HBO. The Joust ad centers on a medieval jousting contest — familiar to those who watch HBO’s hugely popular
Game of Thrones
— where Bud Light’s armor-clad knight meets his match in The Mountain. The setting is then scorched by the sudden arrival of a
dragon. For Sound Lounge (http://soundlounge.com) mixer Tom Jucarone, who’s worked on scores of Super Bowl spots, this project posed a number of unique challenges.
Along with involving two agencies and two clients, it required a dense, nuanced soundscape, which ultimately consisted of 125 individual tracks. Moreover, sound had to mirror the spot’s plot twist, which shifts from humor to shock in a matter of moments.
“It was important to be authentic to both the world of Bud Light and that of Game of Thrones,” explains Jucarone. “It was a very delicate balancing act. It was also important for the story that certain elements break through, including the blood curdling scream that comes from a person in the crowd and, especially, the signature dragon.”
Jucarone had a strong starting point, thanks to extensive sound design by Joseph Fraioli at Jafbox. He then used his mixing expertise to bring all those elements seamlessly together with the dialogue and the music.
"It wasn't just about sound effects," says Jucarone. "Wieden+Kennedy, Droga5, Bud Light and HBO were all very invested in how the sound of this spot turned out. We got very detailed with how the music worked in each scene. As the spot evolved, we did extensive clean up of production dialogue, processed the Bud knight's voice, and added additional sound design when needed."
Jucarone's DAW of choice is Avid’s Pro Tools, and to achieve the spot’s final results, he used plug-ins from Izotope, Zynaptiq, Fabfilter and Audio Ease, along with those within the Pro Tools application.