-A man named Steve, a former sad sack and shrinking violet, can now maintain eye contact with his imposing father-in-law. A different dude, Greg, can finally flip off his overbearing, micromanaging boss.
To what do these guys owe their newfound confidence? They’ve started winning their fantasy football leagues, causing a life-changing boost to their well-being, per a cheeky campaign for The Athletic.
The work, from newly launched independent agency Bandits & Friends, includes several videos, out of home and audio ads with creative that flips the traditional fantasy message on its head with the tagline, “Lose Less.” Sample billboard copy: “Studies show subscribers to The Athletic are less likely to be losers.”
“It all hinges on the insight that the big brands focus on how you’re going to win your league, but that most of us are just trying to avoid the crazy fantasy punishments for people who end up in last place,” Danny Gonzalez, co-chief creative officer and founder at Bandits & Friends, told Adweek.
The campaign also offers live coaching from Athletic’s fantasy experts and free one-year subscriptions to some players who share their unfortunate losing streaks on social media.
But in one element that indulges the category’s infamous schadenfreude, creatives have debuted a giant outdoor “loserboard” in Times Square in New York and on The Strip in Las Vegas. Described as “the first mass media interactive fantasy punishment ever,” “loser” names will be crowdsourced.
“Lose Less” is the first major marketing effort since The Athletic became the de facto sports department of its parent company, the New York Times, this summer.
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