creative campaigns: The Right Stuff

Fox turns awkward moments into victories for sports lovers
Even if you’re a sports nut who never tried on a bra or watched wolves mate, the creative team at Cliff Freeman and Partners is positive you can relate to its TV campaign for Sports Geniuses, the new Fox Sports Net quiz show premiering March 27.
The premise: Everyone has been queried during embarrassing situations. What if the question wasn’t about the moment but instead tested your knowledge of pro sports?
That’s the idea behind four new Fox spots that target males 18-34. The first two broke March 18 and one shows a paunchy, bare-chested man who tries on his wife’s bra and gazes at himself in the mirror. When she bursts in with a bundle of shopping bags, they exchange startled glances until she blurts, “Who’s the NBA’s leader in all-time blocked shots?”
Each of the four spots ends with the tagline: “If only every question was a sports question.”
“We tried to think of awkward moments where sports questions could get you off the hook,” says Richard Bullock, a copywriter who created the campaign with art director Rob Carducci.
Two more spots break March 31 on Fox Sports Net as well as other cable channels under a barter arrangement. One spot features a skittish young guy on a commuter train who is staring at an attractive blonde nursing her baby.
“Excuse me,” she says, causing him to recoil and look away. “Who’s the only Super Bowl MVP to play for a losing team?”
Sports Geniuses targets men who may not know who the president of the U.S. is, says Neal Tiles, executive vice president of Fox Sports, but they can speak with authority on sports.
Some men can feel comfortable being wrong about any other subject, Tiles adds, “but when they’re right about sports, it validates them.” And based on Cliff Freeman’s previous award-winning work for the Fox Sports Web site, Tiles says he “trusted them implicitly.”
Still, the final spot almost wasn’t produced. A source says Tiles, who didn’t reveal the media budget, worried about the content.
“Tiles thought that one [spot] may have gone a little far,” the source says, adding, “It looked scarier on paper.”
That controversial ad–which director Rocky Morton convinced him to shoot– shows a shirtless, 20-something guy lying on a couch, swilling milk. When a few drops spill on his chest, his cat licks them off his nipple. Instead of shooing the animal away, the stunned guy stares at the cat with a mixture of horror and fascination.
“Jeff!” his disgusted girlfriend admonishes. “Which U.S. hockey team has won the most Stanley Cups?”
Eighteen takes were required to get the nipple scene just right, Bullock says. “The actor was so sore he could barely get his T-shirt on when it was over.” K

Fox Sports Net
Cliff Freeman and
New York
Creative Director
Eric Silver
Art Director
Rob Carducci
Richard Bullock
In-house Producer
Catherine Abate
Rocky Morton
Production House