ESPN ads poke fun at Fantasy Football drama between friends and family

Campaign from Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners promotes not-always-healthy competition

Published On
Jul 19, 2022

Editor's Pick

The football field may sometimes get heated, but the occasional spat between players is nothing compared to the intense faceoffs between fans. The latest campaign from ESPN and agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners highlights the intensity—sometimes to a relationship-challenging degree—of competitive Fantasy Football players.

The campaign, “Only in Fantasy,” is inspired by ESPN’s research that Fantasy Football, in which users draft a dream roster of players and compete with points earned by those players’ IRL performance, continues to be popular because of its community building value between coworkers, friends and family. That concept manifests in three 15-second spots that will air nationally across linear and digital TV as well as in complimentary creative for radio and out-of-home. The ads were directed by MAMA via World War Seven. 

Seth Ader, VP of brand marketing at ESPN, said in a statement that 2021 was a record year for Fantasy Football, inspiring a campaign about “what makes the game so great—community, camaraderie and truisms that occur only in fantasy football. Fantasy is a place where people from all walks of life come together, build long-lasting relationships and enjoy some healthy smack talk along the way.”

“Elevator” (above) finds two women boarding a lift together. They regard each other with sass, referring to one another by their Fantasy Football usernames. “You hear what Darth Waver had to do after losing last week?” one asks the other. The elevator doors open and a man, presumably Darth Waver, appears on the other side, missing one eyebrow.


Similarly, a spot called “ice cream” shows a grandfather and granddaughter sitting in a diner booth, the younger half’s sundae untouched. Her grandfather asks if her loss of appetite is “because Gramps trounced your sad excuse for a Fantasy team this week?” He lets out a boisterous laugh as the granddaughter shakes her head with narrowed eyes. 


A third spot, “Therapy,” sits in on a couple’s counseling session. The wife explains that the issue with her husband is that he needs to be more attentive. “It was one bad week,” he says dejectedly. “How am I supposed to live with someone who can’t even set a lineup?” the wife counters.

“Only in fantasy are the rituals, smack talk, last place punishments, punny team names and the relationships it puts to the test the very things that make it so enjoyable to be a part of,” said Robyn Tenenbaum, creative director at BSSP, in a statement. “Our extremely-passionate-about-fantasy team wanted to highlight how Fantasy Football is the only place where this kind of stuff exists.”


Jul 19, 2022
Client :
Agency :
Director :
Production Company :
World War Seven
EVP Commercial Marketing Networks and ESPN :
Laura Gentile
Vice President Brand Marketing :
Seth Ader
Senior Director Brand Marketing :
Peter Mulally
Associate Director Brand Marketing :
John Lobo
Marketing Assistant :
Lenny Washington
Executive Creative Director :
Sinan Dagli
Creative Director :
Robyn Tenenbaum
Design Director :
Dennis Remsing
Art Director :
Cedric Thurman
Senior Copywriter :
Justin Cannon
Senior Copywriter :
Julia Waicberg
Senior Producer :
Cade Wallace
Head of Strategy :
Jake Bayham
Account Director :
AJ Marino
Account Supervisor :
Amanda Burtnett
Director of Photography :
Damian Joaquin Acevedo
Executive Producer :
Megan Pfaffenroth
Line Producer :
Kelly Crooks
Editorial :
Work Editorial
Editor :
Biff Butler
Assistant Editor :
Will Nguyen
Executive Producer :
Remy Foxx
Managing Director :
Marlo Baird
Producer :
Juna Drougas
Finishing / VFX :
Visual Effects Supervisor :
Dino Tsaousis
Flame Assistant :
Adam Greenberg
Senior VFX Producer :
Mike Tockman
Senior Colorist :
Bryan Smaller
Senior Producer :
Mario Castro
Producer :
Nadia Dabibi
Sound Design & Mix :
th3rd sound
Sound Designer & Mixer :
Chip Sloan

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