This year, during Ad Age’s first “virtual” edition of the Small Agency of Awards, the night’s big winner, Chicago’s Highdive, made its acceptance speech in the form a video featuring many of those who helped propel them to the honor. The agency earned its win after a stellar year of business and standout work, including two top-notch Super Bowl ads, the Rocket Mortgage spot starring an unexpectedly bald, scrawny Jason Momoa and Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” ad, in which Bill Murray reprised his iconic role. Both Momoa and Murray appeared in the acceptance video to give props, of sorts, to the night’s top honoree.
The spot is bookended by the two stars—Momoa appears early on, in his real-life muscular form, to give props to “High Five,” followed by more comedic scenes from the agency team and production partners, including O Positive’s Jim Jenkins, who directed the Jeep spot and David Shane, who helmed the Rocket Mortgage ad.
Murray appears in the grand finale—a surprise last-minute submission. Vertical video captures him outside, in shorts and a raincoat, caught in a South Carolina tropical storm. As squalls knock him down, he reveals who he thinks was really behind the agency’s success. We won’t reveal who that is, but here’s a hint: he was paid in “treats.”
According to Highdive Managing Partner Megan Lally, there was no official "director" on the film, only co-founders and co-CCOs Mark Gross and Chad Broude, who "should be fired for using both vertical ad horizontal videos," she says. "Most of the people featured in this were top talent actors or directors who needed no directing for something iike this. Even our employees killed it with a simple brief: 'Make fun of us,' and they just submitted videos, unscripted. Thy did not find this difficult for some reason."
As for A-Listers Momoa and Murrary, "We hoped they’d be in it, but we were doubtful given their busy schedules," Lally says. Momoa "was so cool" and "responded right away." As for Murray, the film isn't lying when it says he came in right before deadline, Lally explains. "We heard back from him literally minutes before we submitted the video."
Both actors were given scripted lines. "Jason did some improv," Lally says. "Of course, Bill made up his whole thing."
Highdive’s film was just one of a few fun videos that ran during the ceremony, which included creative hand-off films from Hannes Ciatti of Alto and John McKelvey of Miramar, the co-founder’s of last year’s winner JohnxHannes.