Behind The ScenesESPNLonghorn Network

Longhorn Network’s latest series of ads includes Ricky Williams as a yoga instructor

For the second year, Longhorn Network (LHN) teamed up with Texas Creative — the advertising program at the University of Texas — to produce a TV campaign for the network. Led by Jill Husak, associate director of marketing at Longhorn Network and UT lecturer Ryan Romero, a team of nine students spent the past semester developing and producing four 30-second spots, each scheduled to launch over the next month. The first ad, “Yoga,” (below) debuted today.

“We asked students to explore various campaign directions: to evolve the ‘Watch What You Love’ from last year and to explore a few new ideas,” Husak said. “Ultimately we landed on continuing last year’s campaign. It strategically works well by telling the relatable, everyday stories of Longhorn fandom and demonstrates LHN’s understanding of the pride and passion of being a Longhorn fan.”

The campaign features several UT icons, including an appearance by Heisman Trophy Winner Ricky Williams, who stars as a yoga instructor in the spot that debuted today. According to Husak, LHN suggested that students integrate Williams into one of the ideas, given his recognition among Longhorn fans. After much brainstorming, students managed to cast him in a natural way, while successfully achieving the messaging objectives.

“Ricky is a certified yoga instructor, so his role in the ad wasn’t a big stretch from his identity,” Husak said. “The spot connected Ricky as a Longhorn Legend and Heisman Trophy winner to his every day persona. This captured the essence of Ricky in a unique and fun way alongside some devout Longhorn fans.”

Students contributed with hundreds of concepts and submitted approximately 50 scripts to their client, LHN. From casting, costume fittings, filming, editing, color correction and sound, the class had the opportunity to work on every aspect of the campaign, according to student Mallory Johnson. Some of the behind the scenes of that process appears in the top video.

“The most rewarding part of this is being able to tell people I worked on real-world, produced-for-ESPN TV ads,” student Evan T. Atherton said. “Some people will go years in advertising before ever getting to write for TV. The fact that Longhorn Network trusts us enough to produce our work is a testament to the caliber of UT’s advertising program.”

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