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Your Shot: Heat and Dave Franco Turn Up the Madden Madness



Heat’s Anna Rowland on creating the action-packed silliness of the latest film for EA Sports’ iconic NFL title

Your Shot:  Heat and Dave Franco Turn Up the Madden Madness

Go big or go home. That’s the philosophy behind the latest outing for EA Sports’ iconic NFL game franchise, Madden. Bollywood drama meets 80s Hollywood action in the deliriously silly campaign starring Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse and it’s as ambitious as it is fun. LBB’s Addison Capper puts his game face on and catches up with creative director Anna Rowland from San Francisco agency Heat to find out more…

LBB> Last year’s spot was extremely popular and picked up a gold in Branded Content & Entertainment this year at Cannes. What was your starting point to the 2016 campaign and how did it end up as a spoof film trailer?

AR> Last year Madden Season became a pop cultural phenomena, connecting consumers to the brand like never before. So going into this year, we wanted to build on the momentum we’d started and continue to bring in a new generation of football and video game fans.

In order to do this, we knew we needed to create compelling content, not just ads, that viewers would want to consume, share, then share some more. But craziness and dinosaurs aside, the Madden Movie at it’s core is a simple(-ish) story of Madden rivalry: Dave Franco along with his team of NFL playmakers, defeat his new Madden foe. That story just happens to be wrapped in a whole lot of fun and crazy.

Check out last year's Gold Lion-winning Madden outing above

LBB> It’s funny because it seems that a lot of sports game franchises tend to focus heavily on actual sports stars rather than the actual experience of playing the game. You’ve flipped that on its head and gone brilliantly mental with your interpretation of what it’s like to play Madden. Where did the idea originally stem from? What was the client’s reaction when you first pitched this approach? 

AR> After the success of last year’s campaign, we knew we needed to go even bigger and crazier this year. And what’s bigger than a music video? A crazy, over-the-top movie seemed like a logical next step up in scale and storytelling. Because of our long-standing relationship working with EA, there was an amazing level of trust, support and excitement when we shared the movie concept with them. The fun and crazy is only possible because of the hard work they’ve put into Madden marketing efforts over the past 27 years of the franchise. It’s a true team effort and we’re incredibly proud of the work we’re doing together.

LBB> This year’s spot is totally 1980s macho action movie. Specifically, though, from where did you draw inspiration?

AR> Once we honed in on the movie construct for our story this year, we reached out to our director Wayne McClammy who shot the last four years of Madden spots to collaborate on the script. From there it was about finding the right genres and tropes to play with comedically. There is an obvious Bollywood action movie flavor to the story and within that a plethora of iconic movie tropes. It has been fun to watch people deconstruct the craziness and find reference that may or may not have been intentional. 

LBB> Why was it right to bring back Dave Franco this year? 

AR> From the beginning we felt it was important to keep a connection to last year’s campaign and while Dave’s role last year may have been more of the underdog, we knew he had the comedic chops and star power to drive our movie story. His real-life friendship with Christopher Mintz-Plasse also brought some extra energy to their performances, and I think their camaraderie really comes through in the film.

LBB> The rest of the cast is fantastic too. What kind of discussions were happening regarding the who’d be a part of it? How were they all to work with?  

AR> This year’s game is all about being a playmaker on and off the field, so of course we needed the help of some of the NFL’s biggest playmakers to tell our story. Those guys were all such great sports, and not to mention great dancers. It helps that they are all big Madden fans, but we really put them to work. Rex and Colin deserve some extra recognition —their performances were awesome and they both really got into the spirit of their respective roles. 

LBB> Tell us about Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s (aka Janet’s) daddy issues with Rex Ryan… 

AR> Janet’s daddy issues are too numerous to re-count. That aside, nothing drives Hollywood action like vengeance. 

LBB> The actual production looks like a lot of fun but I can imagine it was pretty strenuous! How was it for you?

AR> Our shoot days were long and went late into the night, but the energy on set was infectious. From production team, crew, talent and extras everyone seemed to feel like we were a part of something really special. 

LBB> What are your most memorable moments from the shoot? 

AR> There were a lot of fun moments on set. Dave and Chris were having a blast and our NFL guys were so focused on their performances, which really shows in the film. But it is hard to top our Bollywood dance scene – a Gronk twerk can not be unseen.

LBB> Madden is a pretty iconic brand in the U.S. For you personally, how is it to work on?

AR> We feel nothing but proud to work on such an iconic franchise like Madden and our hope is that we keep moving the brand forward each year. As our audience and the world they live in changes we know we have to work even harder for their attention. And our competition is just about any form of entertainment. We knew we’d hit the mark when people started asking, “But what will you do next year for Madden?” Clearly we’re doing something right. 

And keep an eye out for more Madden madness coming soon. Spin off anyone?

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Genres: Visual VFX, People, Comedy

LBB Editorial, Wed, 26 Aug 2015 17:38:53 GMT