Fantasy Football isn’t just a test of your sports knowledge, it’s a test of your relationships; creating deeper community connections…even if a little smack talk is involved. At least that’s the premise beyond ESPN’s brand-new “Only in Fantasy” campaign which launches today and highlights the inherent humor of the game – from the unlikely rivalries and alliances created to the humorous antics and risks associated with being in last place or losing to a loved one.
ESPN tapped long-time agency partner Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP) to launch this new work, the first live-action campaign collaboration between BSPP and the brand.” The campaign leads with short-form, high-impact spots, titled “Elevator”, “Ice Cream” and “Therapy” which will air nationally; each one a comedic vignette that tells the story of how fantasy football is a big part of daily life and relationships.
Drawing on an insight (from the brand’s research) that community connection with friends, coworkers, and family is a key reason fans continue to play ESPN Fantasy Football, the campaign highlights how fantasy allows for unlikely relationships to exist, where fantasy league problems overshadow everyday problems.
As a result, BSSP intentionally featured unlikely situations, such as coworkers referring to each other by their fantasy team names, and a married couple discussing their fantasy football disagreements while in therapy, all of which happen “only in fantasy.” Watch below:
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“The world of Fantasy Football is filled with so many hilarious truths, it’s undeniably fun to play. And this was an undeniably fun project to work on. Only in fantasy are the rituals, smack talk, last place punishments, punny team names, and the relationships it puts to the test, the very things that make it so enjoyable to be a part of. Our extremely passionate-about-fantasy team wanted to highlight how Fantasy Football is the only place where this kind of stuff exists, and it’s played only on ESPN,” says Robyn Tenenbaum, Creative Director at BSSP.
This new work follows up previous fantasy campaigns BSSP and ESPN have worked on since 2019 like 1+1=ESPN Fantasy Football. In addition to that collaboration, the two have partnered on ESPN’s lauded “One App, One Tap” campaign, producing three iterations, with the latest spot, “One App, One Tapp: Phase 3” launching this past April.
Seth Ader, Vice President, Brand Marketing at ESPN, adds, “After our record-breaking season in 2021, this year we’re highlighting what makes the game so great: community, camaraderie and truisms that occur only in fantasy football. Fantasy is a place where people from all walks of life come together, build long-lasting relationships, and enjoy some healthy smack talk along the way. The campaign employed a new approach to marketing, with a series of :15 second spots, featuring fantasy players in various locations and life stages.
This new campaign includes various elements. The spots will run across linear and online video and will be supported with media running across radio, podcast, digital ads and OOH. Additional spots will roll out in the coming weeks. “Elevator” and “Ice Cream” will live on their own as :15’s, but also be paired together for a bookended:30 edit, highlighting the comedic pacing in a unique way.
- EVP Commercial Marketing Networks & ESPN: Laura Gentile
- Vice President, Brand Marketing: Seth Ader
- Senior Director, Brand Marketing: Peter Mulally
- Associate Director, Brand Marketing: John Lobo
- Marketing Assistant, Brand Marketing: Lenny Washington
- Executive Creative Director: Sinan Dagli
- Creative Director: Robyn Tenenbaum
- Design Director: Dennis Remsing
- Art Director: Cedric Thurman
- Senior Copywriter: Justin Cannon
- Senior Copywriter: Julia Waicberg
- Senior Producer: Cade Wallace
- Head of Strategy: Jake Bayham
- Account Director: AJ Marino
- Account Supervisor: Amanda Burtnett
Production Company: World War Seven
- Director: MAMA
- Director of Photography: Damian Joaquin Acevedo
- Executive Producer: Megan Pfaffenroth
- Line Producer: Kelly Crooks
EDIT: Work Editorial
- Editor: Biff Butler
- Assistant Editor: Will Nguyen
- Executive Producer: Remy Foxx
- Managing Director: Marlo Baird
- Producer: Juna Drougas
Finishing / VFX: Exile
- Visual Effects Supervisor: Dino Tsaousis
- Flame Assistant: Adam Greenberg
- Senior Producer: MikeTockman
Color: Company 3
- Senior Colorist: Bryan Smaller
- Senior Producer: Mario Castro
- Producer: Nadia Dabibi
Sound Design / Mix: Th3rd Sound
Sound designer / Mixer: Chip Sloan
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