Barkley, Russell Athletic Want to Inspire You to ‘Settle Your Score’

By Erik Oster 

With back-to-school season upon us, Kansas City’s Barkley launched a campaign for Russell Athletic entitled “Settle Your Score,” documenting the stories of high school football teams who lost state championship games last year and are now searching for redemption.

One such team, the New Palestine Dragons, is documented in the three-minute online ad below. The team was hoping to repeat as state champions last season, but ended up losing because of a touchdown scored with just eight seconds left on the clock. Now the event motivates the team to train hard in hopes of rebounding, and they even have a sign reading “8 Seconds” on their practice field to remind them why they’re training so hard.

The spot captures the human side of the team as they look to change their fortunes this year. Among the most endearing characters is the Dragons coach, affectionately referred to by one player as “Papa Bear,” who motivates the team to due their best on and off the field. Two 30-second spots which debuted a week ago, “Haunted” and “The Other Team,” introduce the concept behind the campaign — and we can expect to hear the stories of five similar teams before its conclusion.

“We didn’t want to tell the clichéd stories of teams and sports; we wanted to tell the untold stories,” Barkley VP/group strategy director Chris Cardetti told Adweek. “Instead of putting that loss behind you, this campaign says, ‘Stare it down, and use it to come back strong.'”

“The teams are beloved by their communities, and the coaches are more than coaches: They’re father figures to these kids. We’re showing that the team is more than the players: It’s the coaches, it’s the fans, and it’s the community,” added Russel Atheltic senior vice president, marketing Matt Murphy. “Telling the stories of champions is easy. This is a very compelling and unique way to tell untold stories, and it put the Russell Athletic brand where our heritage is, at the high school level.”


Client: Russell Athletic

SVP of Marketing: Matt Murphy
Director of Marketing: Taylor Vernier
Sports Marketing Manager: Laura McCaslin

Agency: Barkley
Executive Creative Director: Jason Elm
VP / Creative Director: Brad Jungles
VP / Creative Director: Berk Wasserman
VP / Executive Producer: Susan Neuman
Senior Producer: Melany Esfeld
Production Coordinator: Jasmine Henry
Art Director: Matt Slider
Designer: Jen Beck
Content Producer: Sammy Greenberg
SVP Group Account Leader: Bryan Herrman
Account Supervisor: John Dobson
Account Manager: Alex Belot
Project Manager: Tifany Wrzesinski
VP / Group Strategy Director: Chris Cardetti
Content Strategist: Chris Mason
Associate Media Design Leader: Rachel Stelmach
Supervising Media Design: Jordan Stephens
Director: Robert Clark
Original Photography: Robert Clark
Executive Producer: Chris Bren
Producer: Anna Groth-Shive
DP: Byron Shah
Post Producer: Leslie Yoon
Editor: Winnie Cheung
Assistant Editors: Regina Spurlock, Philip Henken
Composer, Sound Design/Audio Mix- Dan Rosato for Gilded Audio
Colorist: Blase Theodore
Video Re-touch: Justin Acree

PR: Ketchum Sports & Entertainment
James Talamo, Account Executive
Patrick Wixted, VP