Novant Health, 'Boxing'

  • Agency BBDO Atlanta;
  • Production Company Knucklehead;
  • Director Lieven Van Baelen;

MPC NY Provides VFX Support for Hard-Hitting Novant Health Spot from BBDO Atlanta

A new ad for the healthcare provider Novant Health gets a dramatic visual effects boost from MPC New York. The spot, created by BBDO Atlanta and produced by Knucklehead, shows a woman in the fight of her life – only problem is, her opponent is invisible.

Titled “Boxing,” the spot is a visual allegory depicting a woman’s battle against cancer. When we first see the fighter – tattooed, ripped and gripped with a look of steely determination – she’s in a ring by herself, accompanied only by the referee. The bell sounds and she circles an unseen opponent, who quickly starts to exact a toll.

Part way through, at the start of a new round, we see her wearing a scarf to cover her head, having lost her hair during chemotherapy. Her face and body are battered. She’s losing the fight and falls to the mat. The ref begins to count her out but her trainer encourages her to keep on fighting. She comes back with renewed strength and delivers fierce body blows to cancer, her invisible opponent, which falls as the ref declares a KO.

We match cut to our fighter, now dressed in street clothes in the hallway of a Novant Health facility. Her arm is raised in triumph and she clasps hands with her trainer, who was her Novant Health nurse all along.

MPC’s team, led by VFX Supervisor Alex Lovejoy and Lead Flame Artist Marcus Wood, added layers of nuance and detail which made the shots more believable as well as impactful. The fight scene effects, which were captured in camera, were accomplished with the use of an air gun that made the fighter’s skin ripple as if she was actually being punched. Beads of sweat and other elements were added in post at MPC, whose artists also performed cleanup on the fighter’s tattoos and gloves. To capture the most realistic performance the woman was hitting an actual punching bag, which was removed from several shots.

“Boxing” was directed by Knucklehead’s Lieven Van Baelen and edited by Jeff Jay at Hero Post. Color grading was performed at Company 3 in Atlanta, with Billy Gabor.


  • Agency BBDO Atlanta
  • Production Company Knucklehead
  • Director Lieven Van Baelen
  • Agency EVP, Chief Creative Officer Wil Boudreau
  • Agency Creative Director Mike Hanley
  • Agency Associate Creative Director Scott Biear
  • Art Director Hayley Efird
  • Copywriter Emily Miller
  • Agency Executive Producer Jenny Russo Novak
  • Agency EVP, Chief Strategy Officer Tricia Russo
  • Agency Account Planners Donovan Triplett & Adriana Meneses
  • Agency EVP, Director of Client Management Peter Bunarek
  • Agency VP, Account Director Misty Baker
  • Production Company Executive Producers Cathleen Kisich & Tim Katz
  • Production Company Production Manager Lee Cameron
  • Managing Director Justin Brukman
  • Executive Producer Camila De Biaggi
  • Senior Producer Matthew Loranger
  • VFX Supervisor Alex Lovejoy
  • Flame Artists Marcus Wood, Amanda Amalfi & Rob Walker
  • 2D Compositor Tobey Lindback
  • Editorial Jeff Jay @ Hero Post
  • Editorial Executive Producer Molly Baroco
  • Assistant Editor Britt Dunn
  • Color Grade Company 3, Atlanta
  • Colorist Billy Gabor

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