Fanatics is the latest brand to herald the opening of football season, and it’s doing so in style—with a well-conceived spot set at a dry-cleaning store and featuring a cameo from Damar Hamlin, whose on-field medical crisis last season led to a surge in sales of his jersey.
Below, check out the two-minute “Fanatics Cleaners” spot, created in-house, where a pair of employees banter amusingly about the upcoming season. It wraps with a poignant cameo from Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills safety, who’s made a full recovery after suffering cardiac arrest during a game in January.
“We wanted lean into the excitement of kickoff, and all narratives that were starting to build,” Adam Lock, creative director at Fanatics, told Ad Age. “It was also important for us to tell this one through the lens of fans and fan merch—two things we care greatly about.”
The Hamlin angle was particularly interesting. For a few days after his injury last winters, sales of his jersey through Fanatics outpaced every other athlete across all sports. Fanatics ended up donating all proceeds from Hamlin’s jersey sales to the player’s Chasing M’s Foundation—and featuring Hamlin in the spot this fall was a natural next step.
“Damar was incredible, easy to work with and very collaborative,” said Lock. “When news of the shoot leaked in Rochester, even before we knew it … we had fans tailgating outside the location waiting to see Damar. Bills fans are on the next level—they love their team and players.”
The spot was filmed at Martinizing Dry Cleaning in Perinton, New York, a suburb of Rochester.