Wieden & Kennedy Taps Friendship
In Latest Ads For Espn The Magazine
By Sloane Lucas
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, New York
Client: Espn The Magazine
Copywriter: Stacy Wall
Art Director: Susan Griak
Director: Wrye Martin
Editor: Carlos Arias,
Wieden & Kennedy has kicked off its most recent ads for ESPN The Magazine utilizing self-deprecating humor and the friendship between two Minnesota Vikings receivers–rookie Randy Moss and veteran Cris Carter.
The duo appears in two 30-second commercials, which began airing this month on ESPN and ESPN2. They use Moss’ appearance on the cover of the Oct. 19 issue as an excuse to reflect on their relationship: Carter has taken the troubled Moss under his wing, teaching him football and guiding his professional career.
“It’s been played up in the media that they have a big-brother/little-brother relationship,” says creative director Stacy Wall. When Moss was tapped for the cover, he adds, “it fell into place.”
In “Randy’s Rocket,” Moss holds up the magazine, touting his cover image while crediting his mentor with his newfound visibility. “I couldn’t have been on the cover of ESPN The Magazine without Cris Carter,” says Moss. “He’s taught me a lot. He’s looked out for me.”
Carter, meanwhile, is busy building a go-cart for Moss, called Randy’s Rocket, and the spot ends with Moss crammed into the makeshift vehicle. Carter takes his picture, cooing, “Who’s the soapbox derby king?”
In a second ad, Moss pats himself on the back for his magazine coup, listing all the famous receivers who haven’t made the cover. Carter lets Moss yap away, then puts his pesky little pal in his place. “Randy ESPN’s only had a magazine since March,” Carter notes. He walks away, leaving the deflated Moss holding up his magazine, blankly staring at the screen.
Both spots were filmed in Carter’s Minnesota home. “It was very calm and laid back,” notes Wall. No agents and no managers were present during the shoot, just cast and crew staked out in the garage.
The result is an honest delivery that Wall says evokes the “charm and purity” of ’50s pitchmen, who simply held up the product and said they liked it. No pretense is involved.
The Moss/Carter pairing follows similar deadpan deliveries by NBA stars Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury, NFL running back Warrick Dunn and ice queen Tara Lipinski.
The athletic endorsements bring another benefit. “It shows that ESPN is cool enough to get these sports stars in their spots,” says Wall. That, more than anything, “feels like a product of the ESPN brand.”