It’s not everyday you get to see a celebrity punched in the face. But in this second installment of New Era’s rivalry campaign, Yankees fan Alec Baldwin races over to Red Sox supporter John Krasinski’s house with an extra special delivery.
The campaign is by independent New York-based agency The Brooklyn Brothers. Advertising that involves a huge brand, multiple clients, top director talent and A-list actors can either be a logistical (and sometimes creative) disaster or, more rarely, a perfect storm for great new work. Fortunately for everyone involved and anyone who’s seen the spots, this is the latter.
I spoke with Brooklyn Brothers’ co-founder and creative director Guy Barnett about the client brief and how the ads came together. “The brand is very much part of a certain culture and adored by that audience and our mandate is to broaden that audience,” he said. “The issue for New Era is there’s always a huge logo on the front of the product that tends to overshadow the logo on the side of the cap. So it’s just about making people aware that New Era is the official cap of MLB.”
The agency first talked to Krasinski and ran a list of potential Yankees fans by him. Krasinski immediately named Alec Baldwin and helped convince the 30 Rock star to get on board. Then having award-winning director Bryan Buckley to shoot, long known for his ability to get the best from celebrities in ads, was the clincher for both actors. Krasinski also got two writer friends involved, Mike Schur (Parks & Recreation) and Charlie Grandy (The Office).
“Our biggest accomplishment was getting out of the way and letting the really talented people do their thing,” said Barnett. “New Era completely understood and bought into it, which is amazing from a client perspective. There were a lot of approvals to go through, between MLB, the Yankees organization, the Red Sox organization, but the caliber of writing, directing and acting really helped with that obviously. During the shoot there were six or seven clients looking at the monitor and everybody was just laughing the whole time. It was one of the most complicated shoots to arrange, but one of the easiest I’ve ever been on.”
One of the highlights for Barnett was watching Baldwin work. “I’ve never seen acting quite the way he does it,” he said. “In this business you see how a lot of different actors work, and many have their things, whether improvising or whatever. But Alec stuck to the script every single time and every time he did a performance he’d add another layer and take it up a level, which was incredible to see.”
There are five more episodes to go, one for every Yankees/Red Sox series this season.