Sam, Chuck and Spike Return for More Capital One March Madness

'Fighting Sam' mascot straight-up slaps!

The ultimate dream team returns for March Madness—and we don't mean Gonzaga, Duke or Villanova.

We're talking Samuel L. Jackson, Charles Barkley and Spike Lee, back on the road for a series of fresh Capital One commercials in their annual pilgrimage to the NCAA men's basketball tournament. This marks the beloved campaign's seventh iteration—directed by Spike, of course. (The trio sat out 2020, at the height of Covid-19.)

By now, we know the drill. And as ever, zippy zingers, in-jokes, madcap musical moments and star cameos drive five spots created by GSD&M.

But nothing prepared us for Chuck U—or the school's "Fighting Sam" mascot, an MVP-caliber highlight:

NCAA - Chuck U | Capital One

Chuck U? They must've gotten bounced in the opening round. Memo to Capital One: We want Sammy bobble-heads, preferably atop gleaming Academy Award statuettes!

"Of course, Chuck would absolutely have a badass mascot. And Sam is the most badass guy he knows. From there, it was all about striking the perfect expression," GSD&M creative director Kevin Dunleavy tells Muse.

In other installments, Magic Johnson conjures up some plays...

NCAA - Final Fourtune | Capital One

... while two Birds—Larry and Sue—prove better than one:

NCAA - Magic & Bird | Capital One

Elsewhere, veteran Capital One endorser Jennifer Garner pops into Chuck's barber shop, and quickly wishes she hadn't:

NCAA - ChucKuts | Capital One

"Chuck is historically the idea man in these campaigns, coming up with crazy plans or inventions," says GSD&M cd Brett Baker. "One of his most prominent physical features is his baldness. So, what would a bald guy like Chuck think of? Easy—a barbershop."

Finally, Chuck claims a championship—er, make that a "Champion Ship"—as the guys roll down the river in high-steppin' style:

NCAA - Champion Ship | Capital One

"We really wanted to connect the men's and women's tournaments, so we were super excited when we realized that the Mississippi river literally connects the two cities where the championships are being played. The team turned that insight into the 'Champion Ship,'" says agency cd Jon Williamson.

Jay Russell Chief Creative Officer
Scott Brewer SVP, Group Creative Director
Ryan Carroll SVP, Group Creative Director
Leigh Browne Creative Director (Campaign)
Jon Williamson Creative Director (Campaign)
Kevin Dunleavy Creative Director (Champion Ship, Magic & Bird, Chuck U)
Daniel Burke Creative Director (Champion Ship, Magic & Bird, Chuck U)
Dina Young Creative Director (Champion Ship, Magic & Bird, Social)
Brett Baker Creative Director (Chuck Kuts)
Phil Davies Assoc. Creative Director, Copywriter (Final Fourtune)
Matt Barker Assoc. Creative Director, Art Director (Final Fourtune)
Kendal Steffen Senior Art Director (Social)
Tj Vining Senior Art Director (Social)
Jon Ellis Executive Producer
Stefany Strah Producer (Social)
Rolando Romero Producer (Social)
Nancy Ryan SVP, Managing Director
Jodi Bucciarelli VP, Account Director
Lindsey Kuhn Account Director
Blake Balser Account Supervisor
Lindsay Wakabayashi Director, Business Affairs
Lisa Dalian Associate Director, Business Affairs
Teonna Anderson Project Manager
Jim Firestone SVP, Strategy Studio Lead
Mikael Greenlief Director of Communications Strategy
Jessica Peltzman Senior Social Strategist
Sammy Rippon Senior Social Strategist
Evan Walker Director, Paid Social

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