Behind The ScenesSportsCenter

Approaching racing career’s final turn, Gordon teams with Mayne in AARP spots

Who wouldn’t want some advice from Kenny Mayne?

That’s what ESPN’s in-house creative agency CreativeWorks had in mind when enlisting the SportsCenter anchor to work with retiring NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon for a new campaign for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which debuted yesterday. Each of the four ads in the campaign showcase Mayne giving the four-time Sprint Cup champion a pep talk as he gets ready for retirement.

Front Row spoke with Mayne about working with longtime friend Gordon, who is a spokesperson for AARP:

How was the experience of filming with Jeff Gordon?
I’ve known Jeff for 20 years. We’ve done a lot of stories together and have a great relationship, so it was really fun to learn I was being paired with him for something new. I’ve always enjoyed being around Jeff from the first time I met him.

We heard that you came up with the lines for one of the spots – which ones?
[The producers] told me to come up with some material other than what was given to me originally. I sort of made up an outline to where I was going to go the night before. I tested it [the lines] on my girlfriend over the phone, and went ahead and did it. Mine was the one about “You won’t be remembered… you’re going to need an AARP card.” His reaction to the line was great — he really didn’t say much, but I thought he handled it just right.

How many times did Jeff have to trip to get that scene right?
He was really focused and committed about wanting to look natural on his trip. Whenever he didn’t like it, he would stop the shoot and we’d go back and start at Position 1. We [shot that spot] for two straight hours over and over and we think we got it right.

What’s the best behind-the-scenes story you have from the filming?
It was just nice catching up with someone that I consider an old friend now. I was showing him pictures of my daughters and of my girlfriend and then we’d run out and do a take.

Dan Quinn contributed to this post

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