Marshawn Lynch Talks to the Hand in Loony Ads for Xbox Madden NFL 18

NFL icon goes into 'Baby Beast Mode'

Marshawn Lynch knows how to talk with his hands. In September, he made obscene gestures during his first game back after a year of retirement, earning a $12,000 fine from the National Football League.

Now, the Oakland Raiders running back, famously nicknamed “Beast Mode,” lets one of his hands do some silly, G-rating talking to promote Madden NFL 18 on Xbox.

Meet Lynch’s unlikely alter-ego, Baby Beast Mode—which is, in fact, the player’s own right hand, balled into a fist, sporting dreadlocks and creepy-cute animated eyes. Lynch and the hand enjoy animated conversations, with actor Asante Jones providing the squeaky voice for the five-time Pro Bowler’s little pal.

In the first spot below, the hand jives Lynch about the outsized role it’s played in the gridiron superstar’s illustrious career:

You’ve got to hand it to 215 McCann for developing a campaign that offers up such bat-shit goofiness.

Agency creative chief Scott Duchon says the idea sprang from the simple notion that “it’s your hand that yields the power when playing Madden,” and works especially well “because Marshawn is known for being someone who doesn’t do a lot of talking. But when he does, it’s something you’ll remember.”

OK, well sure, now everything about this makes sense. Next, we learn Baby Beast can’t handle a two-point conversion:

Finally, in the wackiest ad of the bunch, Lynch gives his hand a hand (it’s a bobble-hand, actually) after a night on the town:

“Our initial reaction to the creative was a ton of laughter and excitement,” says Xbox integrated marketing director Craig McNary. “But it also needed to be really hardworking. From a messaging standpoint, we wanted to build on our strength that the power of Xbox One X delivers the best Madden NFL 18 experience on any console.”

No need to overexplain. Basically, it’s a huge football-playing dude talking to his little hand about Madden and Xbox. That rates a big thumbs-up in our book!

Ultimately, the no-frills creative concept came in handy, as “we had less than two hours of Marshawn’s time, and this approach let us make the most of it,” says Duchon. “On set, we hoped to make it as loose and easy for him as possible. Our writer pitched him a vibe for the spots as ‘Sesame Street comes to Oakland,’ and it comes across in how genuine and funny Marshawn is onscreen. He’s E for Everyone!”

CREDITS
Client: Microsoft – Xbox
Director, Xbox Integrated Marketing: Craig McNary
Senior Manager, Xbox Integrated Marketing: Michael Rivera-Dirks
Senior Product Marketer, Xbox Global Marketing: Jeanie DuMont
Client: Electronic Arts
Sr. Business Development Manager: Rosanne Elkington
Sr. Director of Brand Management: Josh Rabenovets
Global Campaign Manager: Joe Fraler
Global Brand Manager: Jennica Pearson
Art Director: Josh Kline
Producer: Jeff Ostergaard
Lead Cinematic Artist: Chris Warnock
Associate Cinematic Artist: Mark Burd

Creative Agency: 215 McCann
Chief Creative Officer: Scott Duchon
Creative Director: Ezra Paulekas
ACD/Art Director: Kevin Koller
Senior Copywriter: John Choe
Art Director: Sean Flores
Director of Integrated Production: Alex Spahr
Agency Producer: Jonathan Matthews
Business Director: Peter Goldstein
Account Director: Drew Porter
Account Supervisor: Devina Hardatt
Account Executive: Armando Melendez
Strategy Director: Cassidy Wilber
Senior Strategist: Ryan Ouyoumjian

Live Action Production: duffy/williams
Directed by Shadd Williams & Michael Duffy
Produced by Shadd Williams
Director of Photography: Michael Duffy
Production Design: Sterling Storm

Editorial: Cabin Editing Company
Editor: Randy Baublis
Producer: Michelle Dorsch
VFX Artist: Verdi Sevenhuysen
Managing Partner: Carr Schilling

Audio: One Union Recording
Engineer: Joaby Deal
Producer: Lauren Mask

Finishing – Emerson Digital
Flame Artist: Mark Emerson

Sound Design & Mix: Mission Film and Digital
Colorist: Ayumi Ashley
Producer: Nick Castillo