Character studies: Inside ESPN’s “#BadFantasy/#GoodFantasy” campaign

Football season never fails to bring fresh starts: new players and coaches joining your favorite team, a clean slate of matchups leading to the Super Bowl and a shot at winning a fantasy football league.

ESPN Digital Marketing and CreativeWorks collaborated on a new fantasy football campaign called “Bad Fantasy/Good Fantasy,” playing off the notion that LARPing on a football Sunday is “bad fantasy,” while playing fantasy football with ESPN equals “good fantasy.”

LARPing stands for live action role-playing, a game in which participants act out video game characters’ actions in real life. The campaign launched last week, and will continue to roll out new spots in the coming weeks.

Front Row spoke with Kevin Sullivan, writer/producer for Creative Works, who worked closely with ESPN Digital Marketing on the project.

What struck me most as we were filming was the deep passion our extras had for LARPing. They would continue to “fight” even between takes because they loved the activity so much. It was very reminiscent of how much our fans love to play fantasy football.
– Kevin Sullivan

How did you decide on this concept to connect with fantasy football fans?
We wanted a theme that allowed us the flexibility to create lots of content that feel native to the different platforms on which they would live. Every touch point of the campaign feels natural to its environment, whether it’s on television, radio, social media, or print. Everything gets tied together with the central motif of “Bad Fantasy/Good Fantasy.” This theme also gives us the opportunity to infuse some humor into the creative, which we feel provides a natural connection to the fun fans have playing fantasy football.

Were these actors featured in the spots actual LARPers? Have you personally had any experience with LARPing?
Our featured actors had no experience LARPing. But all of our extras were authentic LARPers, including one who was an actual LARPing fight coordinator! I don’t believe anyone on our team has had any experience LARPing. But after this some of us are considering trying it out.

Was there a memorable moment on set?
What struck me most as we were filming was the deep passion our extras had for LARPing. They would continue to “fight” even between takes because they loved the activity so much. It was very reminiscent of how much our fans love to play fantasy football.

CreativeWorks provided the behind-the-scenes video above. See the finished scene in the video below.

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