ESPN Gives an Epic Lecture on College Football's Greatest Stories

Kirk Herbstreit's class is in session

Big Al the Elephant, please take your seat!

The University of Alabama's pugnacious pachyderm and other NCAA mascots—plus fans, marching band members and assorted luminaries—make up an unusual lecture class in a :60 from agency Arts & Letters hyping ESPN's college football coverage.

"What makes for a great story?" asks Kirk Herbstreit, an analyst for the network's College GameDay show, from the podium. "Is it drama? Action? Adventure? Or is it love? Not just love love, but the kind of love that makes you do crazy things?"

College Football on ESPN: The Greatest Story Ever Played

As game highlights, scenes from the stands and viral moments flash on a projection screen behind him, Herbstreit continues: "A great story has to have heroes we can root for. It has magic, it has power, and every once in a while it has miracles."

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman and other "students" nod in agreement. Miami's Sebastian the Ibis bobs his freaky beak.

Throughout, O Positive director Jun Diaz delivers a fun salute to the game and its quirks. Pleasantly kooky, but never OTT, the ad marks an extension of a fruitful client-agency relationship, with A&L touting ESPN college football for the first time, portraying the season as "The Greatest Story Ever Played"—dramatic fare that unfolds each week in unexpected ways.

"What separates college football from any other sport is the deep passion and diverse pageantry of its fans," A&L creative director Andrew Kong tells Muse. "We really wanted to capture all the little things that make up a big part of people's college football fandom. Hopefully, that's reflected in the spot with every seat in the crowd, shot on the projector, and word in the script."

The commercial will run on ESPN, ABC and other Disney-owned platforms, plus select digital and social channels.

"Our goal with this film was to speak to both die-hard and new fans of college football," Kong says. "For fans of the sport, we worked hard to highlight stories of on- and off-the-field moments that hit at the heart of what they love most about it—constant twists and turns, coaching changes, transfers and the pageantry and passion that come with being a fan. For new fans, we're showcasing the sport in a way that piques their interest and gets them to turn on a game any Saturday this fall."

Of filming the ad, he recalls: "Between shots, it was incredible to look around this lecture hall and see all the schools and characters represented. We got to hang out with our favorite mascots—who always stayed in character—and bark along with UGA's Spike Squad."

Along with those mentioned above, the clip boasts cameos by:

  • Michigan and Utah cheerleaders
  • The Tennessee State Sophisticated Ladies dance team
  • A TSU Aristocrat of Bands drum major
  • The Ohio State sousaphone player
  • Cincinnati's Lucille the Bearcat
  • North Carolina's Ramses the Ram
  • UT Austin's Hook 'Em the Longhorn

CAMPAIGN TITLE: "CFB on ESPN: The Greatest Story Ever Played"

First Air Date: August 27, 2022

Client: ESPN
EVP, Commercial Marketing, Disney Networks & ESPN: Laura Gentile  
VP, Sports Marketing: Emeka Ofodile
Senior Director, Sports Marketing: Curtis Friends 
Director: Sports Marketing: Maggie Davis Lewin 
Manager, Sports Marketing: David Dessau  
Associate Manager, Sports Marketing: Willi Anderson
Associate Manager, Sports Marketing: John Hewer 
Director, Talent Content: Stacey Pressman  
Senior. Talent Producer: Zuriel Loving
Senior Talent Producer: Katie Hennessey
Senior Talent Producer: Lindsey Steckel
Talent Coordinator: Dee Bosa
Managing Producer: Lindsey Lloyd
Associate Producer, G&L: Cameron Gross
Music Director: Kevin Wilson
Music Ops Supervisor: Joanne Strange
Music Coordinator: Caitlin Delvillano

Agency: Arts & Letters Creative Co. 
Founder, Executive Creative Director: Charles Hodges
Director of Strategy: Andy Grayson
Director of Production: Temma Shoaf
Creative Director: NJ Placentra
Creative Director: Andrew Kong
Creative Director: Molly Jamison
Creative: Rob Munk 
Creative: Scott Hayes
Creative: Chris Kim
Creative: Cory McCollum
Creative: Joe Jones
Designer: Andrew Caturano
Executive Producer: Calleen Colburn
Producer: Danny Ryan
Producer: Collyn Dixon
Group Business Director: Brenda Schneider
Business Director: Martin Madriaga
Business Manager: Erin Shepherd
Strategy Director: Alex Morrison
Strategist: Millie Tunnell
Director of Business Affairs: Lenora Cushing
Business Affairs: Jennifer Kmetzsch
Music Supervisor: Cam DiNunzio

Production: O Positive

Director: Jun Diaz
Executive Producer: Marc Grill
Head of Production: Devon Clark
Producer: Eric Liney 

Editorial: Mackcut

Editor: Pamela Petruski
Assistant Editor: Brandon Alexander
Executive Producer: Gina Pagano
Executive Producer: Alexandre Dussault

VFX: Parliament VFX

Lead Artist: Nathan Kane
Director of Production: Kat Maidment

Color: Rare Medium

Colorist: Mikey Rossiter
Senior Producer: Evan Bauer 

Audio Mix: Sonic Union

Engineer: Steve Rosen
Executive Producer: Pat Sullivan

Music: APM

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