ESPN WINTER X-GAMES
Athletes who compete in the X-Games are incredibly daring, and joyfully do things the rest of us would be afraid to try. We wanted to see how they'd react if they were actually scared by something and, in doing so, show that they are real people who overcome great risks to succeed in their sports. So we tricked them into thinking that they were coming to shoot a TV commercial on a soundstage, then rigged spy cameras in their trailers where we pulled a different scary prank on each of them to capture their response. Surprisingly, we weren't sued. Director: Joe Public.
ESPN - "THE RICK"
I got my start by creating "The Rick." Christopher Guest signed on to direct, and we worked together on 3 different properties: ESPNEWS, ESPN.com and the ESPY Awards. Made it to the cover of ESPN Magazine. Used as motivation in a Stanley Cup Finals locker room. Practically became the "mascot" of the ESPN empire. When the One Show had their first integrated branding campaign award (then called “Multi-Media”) the ESPNEWS campaign featuring “The Rick” won bronze, the only American winner in the category.
Everyone knows someone like "the Rick." He is part of all who passionately dig sports and within them find their own unique meaning.
(Hank Perlman directed this spot in the final season of the campaign.)
CALIFORNIA DEPT OF HEALTH - "RECIPE"
Director: Joe Public.
TOYOTA - "THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE"
My first freelance job had me traveling the country mining the world of high school football and its communities for Toyota's "Line of Scrimmage" to promote the Tundra truck. Shot 2 TV spots each week on the road. Wrote 2 advertorials from each location, and they appeared in Sports Illustrated every week of the season. Created a website for our traveling characters. And made a phone call to Bob Costas' office every week to feed 'em a line or two to introduce the spots on the halftime show of Sunday Night Football on NBC. Surprisingly, they never hung up on me. Director: Dan Levenson.
YOU, ME & DUPREE - X GAMES / MOVIE TIE-IN
Universal Pictures wanted to do a cross-promotion with ESPN. I watched an advanced preview of the film and saw that Owen Wilson's character rode an old 10-speed bike. From that point on there was only one thing I wanted to do. Fortunately all parties gladly agreed. Owen Wilson is a champion.
CALIFORNIA DEPT OF HEALTH - "PROGRAMMED"
The tobacco industry has their customers right where they want them. Director: Rocky Morton.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER - "House Party"
The MLS was featuring a new season of games on Saturday nights. Our house party, filled with fun people and directed by Todd Phillips, turned out to be quite an experience. Run DMC ripped me for a rap I wrote for them, so they did their own and I loved them for it. And Deepak Chopra, it turns out, is not bad at quarters. Director: Todd Phillips
THE NHL ON ESPN - Ice. Men. Sticks. Pucks. -- "Endless Ice"
This campaign featured Kiefer Sutherland skating on an endless rink around ghost-like images of hockey and the lives of players who make it to the NHL. The images were projected onto steam and shot in camera. Director: Meiert Avis
COLLEGE BASKETBALL ON ESPN - "Joe Tightshorts"
With tons of games to promote, ESPN needed a campaign that allowed for easily adaptable tune-in spots. What better way to do that than with a washed-up college basketball "expert" and his assistant who worked a vintage AV cart which projected the game tune-ins to viewers. Each spot was a "lesson" designed to help make the viewer "a smarter player," followed by a "game film" which was the actual game tune-in clip. Many a viewer's skills were surely eroded if they followed too closely. Wonderfully played by Chad Einbinder and directed by Jordan Brady.
ESPN's 2-MINUTE DRILL - "The Answer"
A campaign for a sports quiz show, "2-Minute Drill." The "Answer" was a creature that represented the elusive answer to a difficult sports question. One you want more than anything else. We also made a second season and announced it with a mother Answer giving birth to all-new baby Answers (a:'s) in the crawlspace under a house. In one spot, John Riggins arm-wrested an Answer in the crawlspace. ESPN and Disney even made dolls that they sold in ESPN stores in Times Square and Disneyland. So, that's a merchandising tie-in for those still reading this. Director: David Frankham.
END HUNGER NETWORK - "Formula"
A spot from a campaign for Jeff Bridges' hunger project. We chose to shoot in a very matter-of-fact, unsentimental style, with real people basically giving their actual tips on how to go about finding food. Some horribly desperate stories, each ending with the super “For more ways to end hunger” and a number where people could call to help the cause of ending hunger in America. It's all possible. Director: Marcus McCollum.
ESPNEWS - "The Rick - Bat Rag"
In the collecting stage, there are frustrations.
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP - "Carville"
Womens sports often get short shrift. So this campaign aimed to crank up interest in the Women's World Cup with a very concerted effort to get the President to attend if the US team made it to the Finals. It was a matter of patriotism. The team deserved the attention. James Carville offered to help out in this part send-up of the documentary "The War Room." Director: Todd Phillips.
THE PRESIDENT RESPONDS
The President acknowledges how our campaign got him to attend the Finals.
HD-DVD - "Red" (Spec spot)
During the format war vs Blu-Ray, part of a pitch for the HD-DVD account. A simple branding idea utilizing the recognizable color of the HD DVD box. Access to a large catalog of films allowed us to draw from a lot of clips that involved the color red. Made for a fun piece in an unsuccessful bid, but I'm keeping it alive here anyway.