Who needs the cover of Madden NFL 20 when you've got the starring role in Hulu Has Live Sports '20: The Video Game?
Case in point: New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley. He lost out to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the Madden cover, but his animated likeness—reclining on a couch with legs—gets to chase after a TV with legs in Hulu's first foray into gaming.
And that's … something. Right?
His agent certainly thinks so, telling Barkley, "I know this isn't Madden," in the amusing teaser below, adding, "It's not about play, it's about pay," just before his client gets showered with cash:
Next, a trailer shows animated Barkley on his ambulatory couch, pursuing that elusive TV. Our hero pounds down nachos, leaps over house pets and generally makes a mess. "This isn't a football video game, it's a watching football video game," we're told.
Indeed, you don't play football as Barkley (as you would in, say, Madden). Instead, you play as Barkley watching live football on Hulu.
"When we set out to make the world's first 'watching football' video game, we knew it had to be, well, kind of silly," says Neal Desai, creative director at Big Family Table, which developed the campaign. "So, a game where Saquon Barkley's TV grows legs and runs off while he's watching live sports on Hulu seemed like the right idea. We pulled inspiration from some retro games, but also wanted to bring in elements from football games we loved."
Players do not win money, but they do try to collect cash along the way—just like Barkley does as a Hulu endorser—and grab enough floating letters to spell "Hulu Has Live Sports." Tapping the space bar helps couch-bound Barkley leap over obstacles, and double-spacing lifts him higher.
It's simple! It's retro! It's … not Madden, but there we are.
In fact, it's a cheeky, self-aware addition to the "Hulu Sellouts" campaign, in which athletes promote the streaming service's live-sports offerings while gleefully acknowledging that the company pays them big bucks to do so.
Naturally, the game contains Easter eggs, including Barkley's high-school jersey, NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo's custom Hulu Has Live Sports slippers, and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield's Hulu-branded jetski. Oh, and @MrHuluHasLiveSports, an influencer cat that hangs with L.A. Rams running back Todd Gurley, prowls around, too.
Eat your heart out, Mahomes!
Assignment: "Hulu Sellouts" Campaign
Name/Length of Spots: 2 broadcast spots
1.: :30 "Saquon Video Game"
2.: :15 "Saquon Video Game"
CEO: Randy Freer
CMO: Kelly Campbell
VP, Content Marketing: Ryan Crosby
Director of Live TV Marketing: Michael Schneider
Creative Director Brand & Culture: Lex Kay
Manager, Live TV Marketing: Rosalind Pressman
Senior Live TV Marketing Marketing Manager: Jordan Badia-Bellinger
Associate Live TV Marketing Manager: Chie Kobayashi
BFT Credits and Titles:
Group Account Director: Chris Carter
Head of Creative: Guto Araki
Head of Strategy: Will Burroughs
Head of Production: Mary Ellen Duggan
Senior Producer: Judd Stricker
Senior Digital Producer: Lindsey Najdovski
Creative Director: Eric Manchester
Creative Director : Neal Desai
Senior Copywriter: Marcin Markiewicz
Senior Art Director: Vlad Ivangorodsky
Account Director: Lacy Borko
Senior Account Executive : Andrew Haumersen
Senior Strategist: Ravi Jayanath
Live Action Production Company
Production Company Name: Hungry Man
Director: Dave Laden
Executive Producer: Dan Duffy
Line Producer: Omar Bustos
Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt
Editorial: Arcade Editorial
Editor: Geoff Hounsell "Baker Audible," "Saquon Video Game"
Editor: Sean Lagrange "Todd Mr. Hulu Has Live Sports"
Assistant Editor: Josh Miller, Matt Laroche
Managing Director: Damian Stevens
Executive Producer: Crissy DeSimone
Producer: Sarah Schachte
Post VFX: Tribbo Post
VFX Creative Director: Bibinho Carvalho
Account Manager: Rafael Guedes and Carolina Barros
3D Lead Artist: Erick Buosi
3D Modeling: Alexandre Takeshi and Helder Alves
3D Simulation: Henrique Freitas
Senior VFX Producer: Tato Carvalho
VFX Producer: Pamella Pesareli
Supervisor/Senior Flame Artist: Rodrigo Pina
Flame Artist: Bruno Spinella
Asst. Flame Artist: Fabiano Iwasita
Color Company: MPC
Senior Colorist: Mark Gethin
Color Producer: Susan Harris
EP: Meghan Lang
Audio Post Company: Lime Studios
Audio Engineer: Mark Meyuhas
Assistant Engineer: Topher Wright, Peter Lapinski
EP: Susie Boyajan
Licensed/Composed Music, Credits and Track Info:
Creative Director/Partner: Tim Adams & Ben Einziger
EP: Kiki McDaniel
Video Game Production Company: