hail mary

Everybody loves a winner, but it’s not the winners who really need skillful advertising.

So when Hanna & Associates in Spokane, Wash., got to work on a campaign for the Washington State University football team, the Cougars’ woeful 3-8 record last year was something to consider.

The shop’s creative director, John Baechler, cobbled together three emotional spots built around the simple theme “Cougar pride.” One has a lone team member trotting up and down the stairs in an empty stadium. Another has a sweat-soaked player gazing at a team photo from yesteryear. The third simply shows an exhausted Cougar player showering. Each ad takes a dramatic, no-nonsense approach that seems guaranteed to raise goosebumps.

“We knew the team didn’t do that well last year,” said account coordinator Thomas Wilson. “We thought about funny, but no one at the school was in the mood for funny.”