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Relationships are Tested in ESPN's Humorous Fantasy Football Spots

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ESPN and BSSP bring 'only in fantasy' campaign to life

Relationships are Tested in ESPN's Humorous Fantasy Football Spots

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 humour 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. '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. 

Drawing on an insight (from the brand’s research) that community connection with friends, co-workers, 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 everyday problems are overshadowed by fantasy league problems. As a result, BSSP intentionally featured unlikely situations, such as co-workers 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'. 

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. 

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.

Robyn Tenenbaum, creative director at BSSP, 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.

Seth Ader, vice president, brand marketing at ESPN, 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.

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Client: ESPN

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


Agency: BSSP

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


Editorial: 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 VFX Producer: Mike Tockman


Colour: Company 3

Senior Colorist: Bryan Smaller

Senior Producer: Mario Castro

Producer: Nadia Dabibi


Sound Design / Mix: Th3rd Sound

Sound designer / Mixer: Chip Sloan

Categories: Sports and Leisure, Social networking

DiGennaro Communications, Tue, 19 Jul 2022 08:32:10 GMT