NBA

Against all odds, ESPN’s mashup of Clippers-Mavs’ drama, Phil Collins’ power ballad scores

(L-R) Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban are depicted in the ESPN promo for tonight's Clippers-Mavericks clash.
(L-R) Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban are depicted in the ESPN promo for tonight’s Clippers-Mavericks clash (see video below).

The NBA story of the summer – DeAndre Jordan’s free agency and his decision to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers after verbally committing to the Dallas Mavericks – was a fascinating moment in time.

Similarly, in a separate realm of entertainment, Internet chatter about the potential return of Phil Collins to the music scene ramped up in recent days. Those two seemingly incongruous events collide in a new spot created by ESPN’s Marketing and Creative Services team to promote the matchup tonight (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET) – when Jordan returns to Dallas for the first time since that decision.

The montage of images featuring Jordan as a Clipper clashing with the Mavericks and bonding with his Los Angeles teammates, with Dallas owner Mark Cuban shouting and grimacing, syncs with lyrics to Collins’ 1980s power ballad “Against All Odds.” The promotion has received rave reviews from various outlets.

Writer/producer Michael Giblin gave Front Row a peek into how the spot came together.

Where did the idea for this spot originate?
The DeAndre Jordan free agency saga this summer was one of the craziest stories not just in the NBA but the entire sports world. When the NBA schedule was released and ESPN had DeAndre’s “return” to Dallas on the schedule, our NBA marketing team and Creative Services team knew that we had to promote this NBA game in a unique and humorous way. Opportunities like this only come so often and we really wanted to have some fun with it.

Was “Against All Odds” – perhaps’ Collins’ signature song – your first choice? What other songs did you think about using?
Our first choice was actually Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” because some of the lyrics fit so well – “The scars of your love, they leave me breathless, I can’t help feeling. We could have had it all.” But with Adele’s new album coming out, the odds of us clearing that song were slim. We also were looking at Whitney Houston’s “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” but that was going to be a challenge to clear as well. Our group started listening to some 80s break-up music and after hearing “Against All Odds,” we knew we had something special.

How long was this spot in production?
We were prepping footage for this matchup for a while, so we were in pretty good shape to cut the spot once our music was finalized. Jonathan Wendell, our editor at Reveal 42 (ESPN Marketing’s production house partner) is really talented and we turned it around in a couple days. It was fun using some “dissolve” animations to give it a true 80s music video feel.

Are you a Phil Collins fan? Do you think he should come out of retirement?
I do like Phil Collins! “In The Air Tonight” is a classic and I actually really liked the Tarzan movie soundtrack. As far as coming out of retirement – sure, why not? I’m not signing one of those petitions to stop him.

Editor’s Note: If the video below does not play on your device, click here.

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