ESPN Urges March Madness Fans: 'Go With Your Gut'

BSSP brings tournament brackets to life

When you spy an azure-hooded blue jay in the back yard, do your throughs turn to "Creighton flying through the early rounds" of the NCAA Basketball Tournament? When you struggle into your pants—cursing those extra servings of nachos and pie—do images of the UConn Huskies start zipping around your head?

Either you're one weirdly twisted individual ... or else caught in the grip of March Madness! 

It's the latter of course, and ESPN probes this annual phenomenon in :15s from Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners hyping the sports network's Tournament Challenge bracket game.

Ads dropping today urge viewers to "Go With Your Gut" when picking teams—and the first spot below interprets that mantra quite literally. (Dude can't quite hold in his excitement.)

"So many fans who don’t know much about college basketball are scared to get involved. With this new effort, we wanted to embrace the fact that statistically, no one—not even the most well-informed superfan —is capable of filling out the perfect bracket." Says BSSP creative director Robyn Tenenbaum. "The uncertainty and the madness and the chaos are really what make Tournament Challenge so engaging and so easy to love. We wanted the creative to highlight that feeling."

Creighton though? That gut pick could turn into a bellyache!

"Tournament Challenge is an experience for everyone, and the game consistently reaches a younger, more casual audience between the men's and women's games," adds ESPN VP, brand marketing Seth Ader. "It's one of those magical times on the sports calendar where all ranges of fandom come together. We loved the idea of encouraging everyone to tune out the noise, let instinct lead the way and to go with their gut. 

The work runs across broadcast, streaming, digital, audio and social ahead of the men's and women's brackets opening on Sunday, Mar. 12.


Client: ESPN
Laura Gentile: EVP, ESPN Marketing
Seth Ader: VP, Brand Marketing
Alex Healy-Lucciola: Sr. Director, Brand Marketing
John Lobo: Associate Director, Brand Marketing
Jon Little: Associate Producer II, Marketing Production
Lenny Washington: Coordinator, Brand Marketing

Agency: BSSP
Sinan Dagli: Executive Creative Director
Robyn Tenenbaum: Creative Director
Lauren Byers: Art Director
Justin Cannon: Senior Copywriter
Cade Wallace: Senior Producer
Jake Bayham: Head of Strategy
Cierra Moore: Strategy Director
Kyle Rodriguez: Account Director
Shannon Stucke: Account Supervisor
Krista Horn: Senior Business Affairs Manager

Production Co.: Stept Studios
Director: Ben McManus
Director: John Marsico
Executive Producer: Blake Greenbaum
Producer: Rebecca Case
Production Manager: Jasmine Holdsworth
1ST AD: Daniel Bennaiem
DOP: Bryant Jansen
Gaffer: Eddy Scully
Key Grip: Collin Gallivan
Production Designer: Tyler Jensen
Set Decorator: Christina Skilbred
Hair & Makeup: Brielle Mckenna
Wardrobe: Yvonne Reddy
Casting Director: Dan Cowan

Editorial Company: MackCut
Editor: Brendan Hogan
Assistant Editor: Ellen Schoenfeld
Executive producer: Gina Pagano 
Producer: Dylan Anderson
Animation: Nick Quiles 
Conform: Jim Hayhow

Sound Design / Mix: Th3rd Sound
Sound Designer / Mixer: Chip Sloan

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