Kevin Nealon Fixes Golf Swings in Callaway's 'Slicers Anonymous'
If a bad slice is ruining your game, welcome to the club. Just remember … "Your slice is not your swing. Your slice is not your swing!"
That mantra drives "Slicers Anonymous," an amusing romp starring actor/comedian Kevin Nealon as a quasi-mystical support-group leader who touts Callaway Golf's new Big Bertha B21 clubs.
Here's a 40-second trailer. And below is the full eight-minute film.
"Callaway gave us a very simple brief: A support group for people who slice. We ran with it from there," says Rebecca Rosoff, co-founder of the Kimba Group, which devised the campaign.
"It was originally briefed as a 90-second-to-two-minute spot," Rosoff recalls. "But once we got into development, it was clear we needed way more screen time to bring the characters to life. When Nealon came on board, it was a no-brainer—this was now officially going to be a dark comedy short film verses a 'spot' in the traditional sense."
Jay Larson of All Things Comedy directs in tongue-in-cheek noir style. He employs the repetitious "Not your swing" line to great effect. It's delivered by Nealon in creepy-guru fashion as we watch a diverse group of amateur golfers receive mysterious messages inviting them to a secret assembly.
"We knew we needed something that looked incredibly cinematic," Rosoff says. "House of Cards and Fight Club were definitely on our visual reference boards, because that stylistic choice would set a tone to allow the jokes to hit as a surprise."
Nealon quips his way through the material as a smug know-it-all with a penchant for put-down humor. Dude doesn't take any mulligans on fat or age shaming—or cheap theatrics, for that matter.
"The whole film is one long wink, as good dark irreverent comedy should be," Rosoff says. "The support group setting made perfect sense to us, because golf is inherently such an emotional sport—an internal/introspective game where players are in a battle against themselves. With that in mind, the team cast 'archetypal golfers' who'd need help with their swings."
Kimba Group has enjoyed considerable success with long-form outings under the banner of "Callaway Originals." A year ago, the series featured quirky, Wes Anderson-style vignettes on topics such as South Korea's obsession with video-screen golf and how to play 18 holes on a 9-hole course. Since 2015, the campaign has drawn some 100 million views across all platforms, an impressive performance for golf-related material.
With "Slicers Anonymous," Callaway seeks to capitalize on an upswing in Google searches related to "golf slice." They're the highest they've been in seven years, the company says, as more folks hit the links, at least in part to find distraction during the pandemic. (Plus, a fair number of people are newly out of work or underemployed, with time on their hands.)
Predictably, Nealon cut up on set, especially while shooting the bit where he hits the deck at the meeting and breathlessly refuses help from his charges, urging them to "Just go! Save yourself! Save your swing!"
"We had a cushion on the floor and stunt/safety coordinator because we wanted to get shots of him really falling to the ground," Rosoff recalls. "We needed to capture a bunch of different angles so he essentially had to fall many times. Before each take, he would say, 'Good luck, everybody! We all laughed every time—it never got old."
At the very end of the film, comedian Eddie Pepitone—you might know him as Conan O'Brien's "New York City Heckler"—makes a cameo as a janitor.
"Nealon and Pepitone, two legends who respect each other already tremendously, had such a natural rhythm," Rosoff says. "It was a joy to watch them play on set. They nailed it in two takes. You really felt like you were watching veterans in their comfort zones."
Naturally, avid golfers form the key demographic, but Callaway hopes the work has broad enough appeal "to reach fringe and beginner golfers and even draw interest from the mainstream since it's character driven entertainment versus talking-head sports content," says Kimba Group co-founder Mike Chiavetta.
"Slicers Anonymous" will run across Prime Video, Instagram/IGTV, Callaway's website, Callaway TV (an OTT offering available from Apple TV and Roku), YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Agency: The Kimba Group
Production Co: All Things Comedy
Jay Larson - Writer/Director
Rebecca Rosoff - Executive Producer
Mike Chiavetta - Executive Producer
Mike Bertolina - Executive Producer
Rachel Garcia - Production Supervisor
Keith Smith - Director of Photography
Jason Gallagher - Editor/Composer
The Guru - Kevin Nealon
Dale - Tone Bell
Julie - Courtney Scheuerman
Tommy - Nick Turner
Carl - Aristotle Athiras
Paul - Phil Painter
Golf Coach - Cort McCown
Tommy's Friend - Ari Mannis
Janitor - Eddie Pepitone