Baker Mayfield Suits Up Again for Progressive's Latest NFL Campaign

Plus, yard-marker guys gain home-field advantage

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield returns for a second year of lighthearted football-themed ads from Progressive.

In a nod to the new normal, Mayfield and his wife Emily go about mundane chores in their new "home"—an empty FirstEnergy Stadium, which can seat 68,000:

He'll get used to performing without fans in the stands that way.

A separate series of spots directed by Jared Hess (of Napoleon Dynamite fame) flips the "at-home" joke. Mark and Marcus, two dudes wielding yard markers connected by a chain, make their debut, fumbling around the domestic playing field of a typical suburban house:

Those big orange inanimate objects really stole the show! (Don't cry foul, Mark and Marcus, we're just yanking your chain. The markers gave predictably stiff performances.)

Developed by Arnold Worldwide and running throughout the NFL season, the ads deliver some culturally attuned chuckles without working overtime to force the funny.

Progressive scored a few months back with a pandemic-themed campaign, staging awkward Zoom calls featuring spokes-characters Flo and Jamie.

So, why not use Flo and Jamie in an NFL push?

Arnold creative chief Sean McBride tells Muse that this particular playing field "warrants its own unique campaigns. It's why Progressive has a network of characters. Each one occupies its own piece of the audience so we can tailor the messages exactly right."

The inspiration for Mark and Marcus "came from noticing there are two people on the field during NFL games that no one ever, ever, ever talks about, even though they are front and center during some of the biggest moments," McBride says. "We realized this would break through, since no one has ever given these guys a second thought. Their official job title is the chain crew, but we call them the Yard Markers since it sounds nice with their names."

He adds: "The Yard Markers deliver a consistent message of protecting your home, in the context of football," with director Hess delivering films that convey "a quiet disruptiveness that's true to his style."

As for the Mayfields' return, McBride describes Baker and Emily as "the best actors who aren't actors. After last year, we went into the shoot knowing how good they were and knowing how we would get so much done in such a short amount of time." Baker's dry-ice delivery punches up the comic vignettes directed with a breezy, understated vibe by Kenny Herzog.

Progressive's game plan calls for releasing new spots throughout the season "like a network show that leaves viewers wanting more," McBride says. "While everyone is spending more time at home this year, two campaigns that are based in the home will resonate more than ever."

Clio Sports and Bleacher Report are hosting a virtual B2B thought leadership event, The New Sports Marketing Playbook, on Oct. 28-29. Click here to learn more and to register.

CREDITS

Client: Progressive
Jeff Charney, Chief Marketing Officer
Meghan Walsh, Business Leader of Creative Management
Jeanine Delsanter, Marketing Manager
Andrew Christopher, Marketing Specialist
Matt Dillon, Director of Creative Development
Bruce Perlman, Integrated Marketing Business Leader
Lauren Barger, Director, Consumer Marketing Strategy
Bailey Wells, Manager of Marketing Strategy

Agency: Arnold Worldwide
Sean McBride, Chief Creative Director
Gregg Nelson, SVP Group Creative Director
Mike Sullivan, SVP Creative Director

Tori Mortenson, Art Director
Patrick Burke, Copywriter
Val Bettini, EVP Managing Director
Gail Felcher, SVP Marketing Director
Jordan Colleran, Marketing Director
Danielle Ivicic, Head of Business Affairs
Jonathon Toto, Business Affairs Manager
Sean Vernaglia, SVP Executive Producer
Danielle Balanov, Assistant Producer
Eric Rubino, Senior Project Manager

Production:
Jared Hess, Director
Executive Producer, Lizzie Schwartz
Executive Producer, Carl Swan
Head of Production, Chris Spanos
Producer, Laure Heflin
Cosmo Street, Editorial
Aaron Langley, Editor at Cosmo Street
Zero VFX, Post Production

AT HOME WITH BAKER MAYFIELD:

Client: Progressive
Jeff Charney, Chief Marketing Officer
Meghan Walsh, Business Leader of Creative Management
Jeanine Delsanter, Marketing Manager
Loretta Czarnomski, Senior Marketing Specialist
Matt Dillon, Director of Creative Development
Bruce Perlman, Integrated Marketing Business Leader
Lauren Barger, Director, Consumer Marketing Strategy
Bailey Wells, Manager of Marketing Strategy

Agency: Arnold Worldwide
Sean McBride, Chief Creative Director
Gregg Nelson, SVP Group Creative Director
Mike Sullivan, SVP Creative Director
Val Bettini, EVP Managing Director
Gail Felcher, SVP Marketing Director
Jordan Colleran, Marketing Director
Danielle Ivicic, Head of Business Affairs
Sean Vernaglia, SVP Executive Producer
Danielle Balanov, Assistant Producer
Eric Rubino, Senior Project Manager

Production:
Kenny Herzog, Director
Ralph Laucella, Executive Producer
Marc Grill, Executive Producer
Grayson Bithell, Producer
Cosmo Street, Editorial
Aaron Langley, Editor at Cosmo Street
Zero VFX, Post Production
The Ski Team, Music

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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