Wieden+Kennedy/NY was handed a cherry assignment from their new client Fox Sports. Fox wanted a commercial for each of the 12 football programs in the Big 10 Conference.
For the agency that used to work on ESPN and still works on Nike, this assignment was a walk in the park. Sadly, the agency paraded some weak stereotypes and was instantly mugged.
The University of Nebraska Athletic Department, for one, sent this shit packing:
Every copywriter needs a place to start the narrative. This is not the place. “When you’re lost in a corn field everything looks the same for miles and miles and miles…” To complicate matters, the spot then turns into a horror film where Nebraskans “sacrifice” their guests (in a literary nod to Stephen King’s short story, “Children of the Corn”). It’s odd enough to be almost funny, particularly given that Nebraska fans are known as the most welcoming in the land.
What baffles me is that any agency would dare to make a commercial about the Nebraska Cornhuskers and miss the point entirely. This is the program with five national championships and a stadium that has been sold out every Saturday since 1962.
The same creative team may have also made the University of Minnesota spot. It’s clear the makers of the ad know NOTHING about Minnesota.
“We’ve all watched Fargo,” is the perfect line for this commercial. The New York creative team who made it bases the entire spot on a Coen Brothers film. Does the W+K team prefer the fictional place to the actual place? Or maybe the team has never been to Minnesota or Nebraska. Can you imagine making a commercial for a football team that you’ve never seen play live?
Strangely, some of the spots in the campaign deviate strongly from the crap pile. Like this one for Univerity of Iowa:
Here, the story starts where it should—in the visitor’s locker room. The spot is all about the football program. Imagine that.