McCann New York Hypes ‘Genius’ for National Geographic

By Erik Oster 

McCann New York unveiled its Super Bowl spot promoting National Geographic’s new scripted series Genius, which features Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein in its first season, which debuts April 25.

The spot, which was directed by Ivan Zachariášfeatures Rush as Einstein, in a messy apartment full of papers of mathematical equations strewn everywhere, playing violin. Around the midway point of the ad it becomes clear that he’s playing Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance,” a nod to both the ad’s placement immediately following Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime Show performance and Einstein’s troubled love life.

“We wanted to create a beautiful commercial that was true to the character of Albert Einstein,” McCann North America CCO Eric Silver said in a statement. “We knew Einstein frequently played violin as a brainstorming technique. The timing of our placement immediately after Lady Gaga’s halftime performance felt like serendipity, giving us the perfect platform to bring the adored physicist to life in a memorable way.”

Fox is absorbing the cost of the 45-second ad (around $7.5 million), since 21st Century Fox owns a 75 percent stake in National Geographic’s parent company.


“We’re grateful for the fact that we got the spot at all, let alone the length of the spot and the placement within the game,” Courteney Monroe, the CEO of National Geographic Global Networks, told Adweek.


Agency: McCann New York
Eric Silver: North American Chief Creative Officer
Tom Murphy: Co-chief Creative Officer
Johan Leandersson: Senior Art Director
Nathy Aviram: Chief Production Officer
Danielle Korn: Director, Broadcast Producer
Eric Johnson: Executive Music Producer
Rob Rawley: Global Account Director
Jennifer Prieto: Account Director
Steven Marchione: Senior Project Manager
Patrick Glaser: Account Executive
Sarah McCollom: Assistant Account Executive

Client: National Geographic
Courteney Monroe: CEO, National Geographic Global Networks
Jill Cress: Chief Marketing Officer
Chris Spencer: Creative Director
Andy Baker: Senior Vice President, Global Creative Director
Chris Albert: Executive Vice President, Global Communications and Talent Relations
Carolyn Bernstein: Executive Vice President; Head of Global Scripted Development and Production
Dennis Camlek: Executive Vice President, Strategy and Consumer Marketing

Production Company: SMUGGLER
Ivan Zachariáš: Director
Patrick Milling Smith: Partner
Brian Carmody: Partner
Allison Kunzman: Executive Producer
Andrew Colón: Head of Production
Nick Landon: Producer

Music Arrangement/Performer – Oli Langford
Music Supervision – JSM

Editorial Company: ROBOTA

Filip Malásek: Editor

Postproduction: UPP