The NFL transforms a pre-game call-and-response chant into a declaration of the intense bond between the league and its fans, as pro football prepares to kick off its new season Thursday.
Passion builds in each frame of "We Run as One," a minute-long film from 72andSunny and the Hudson Dusters (aka, directors Michael Kuhn and Niles Roth). NFL stars, influencers and diverse fans shout themselves hoarse all over town in a thunderous proclamation of mutual love, respect and admiration:
"Who's got my back?" "Who's got our back?"
"I've got your back!" "We've got your back!"
Such fervent symbiosis would make David Costabile proud as he knocks back a few dozen Pepsis and devours NFL coverage on game day. In a broader sense, "We Run as One" casts sports fandom as an intrinsic part of human identity, woven into the fabric of daily life. The NBA has long explored such themes, as has Adidas in its soccer campaigns.
The spot drops with stadiums expected to host crowds at full capacity (or thereabouts) after mostly keeping them outside the gates during last year's Covid-19 surge.
"After a year apart, it was important for us to reunite the players with the fans," 72andSunny executive creative director Zach Hilder says in a statement. "Their unbreakable connection is the heart of this game as well as the heart of this campaign."
Here's a roster of who appears:
Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, L.A. Rams
DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals (and his mom)
Cam Jordan, defensive end, New Orleans Saints
Derrick Henry, running back, Tennessee Titans
Justin Herbert, Quarterback, L.A. Chargers
DeVonta Smith, wide receiver, Philadelphia Eagles
Watts Rams, youth team from Los Angeles
Apex Predators, female flag football team from Las Vegas
These days, the NFL finds itself at something of a crossroads. Basketball drives the culture conversation more than ever, and football's TV ratings continue to sag. And of course, the persistent Delta variant poses its own set of challenges. But the NFL sees daylight on several fronts, with fresh broadcast and sports-betting deals that bode well for its inaugural 17-game season.
Creative Agency: 72andSunny Los Angeles
Production: Greenpoint Pictures
Director: The Hudson Dusters