Patrick Mahomes Huddles With NFL Stars and Rappers for Madden 20's Launch Ad

Psyched up and ready to rumble

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes captains an all-star team of athletes, rappers and one very exuberant gamer in Johannes Leonardo's splashy minute-long film touting EA Sports' upcoming Madden NFL 20 release.

Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP, known for his stirring pep talks (and not just with the Chiefs), also serves as the cover boy for the latest iteration of the popular video game, which drops on Aug. 20.

"Bring It In," which rolled out Thursday morning, finds Mahomes on the field for a pre-game pow-wow with NFL players JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Alvin Kamara of the New Orlean Saints, along with rappers Lil Yachty and DJ Khaled. 

Khaled arrives on a Sea-Doo. Kamara drags around two defenders who've been trying to tackle him for months. Ultimately, a real Madden gamer/influencer steals the show by firing everyone up with an inspirational speech for the ages.

"Football has been and always will be at the cross-section of sport and modern American culture, and that's where the Madden gamer lives," Johannes Leonardo creative director Omid Amidi tells Muse. "They love to win, and they love everything that comes with it—the music, the shoes, the celebrations and more. They love the juice. And that's what this ad serves up. It's about winning, but it's doing it in a way that speaks to them. With flair, with charisma, and in a way that feels culturally relevant." 

By presenting a variety of talent, the spot makes a broad appeal, closing with the tagline, "Stardom is in your hands."
 
The agency-client team called a similar play last year to promote Madden 19, with music stars, including Nikki Minaj, and NFLers celebrating a gamer legend named Will. 

This year, "after coming across Mahomes' bad-ass pregame speech, we realized that nothing announces your arrival as a superstar better than being able to take over the iconic football huddle," says Amidi. 

During a frenetic, fun-filled shoot, "the background talent would take turns at doing JuJu, Kamara, Yachty or Khaled's lines—which stoked the competitive fire in our stars and got us some great performances," he recalls.

"There was a really camaraderie built on set," Amidi adds. "After wrapping his day, JuJu proceeded to order a plethora of burgers and held a family meal for cast and staff in one of the dressing rooms as a thank you."

Separately, EA Sports on Wednesday also unveiled Madden 20's official gameplay trailer, which you can see below. 

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.