In keeping true to the holiday spirit, this week we’re celebrating some of the best Thanksgiving spots in sports advertising from the past decade.
To explore more Rad Ads and cutting-edge agencies engaging the connected fan, subscribe to Hashtag Sports Daily.
1. Snickers — The Man Who Literally Played Hungry (2011)
Agency: BBDO New York
Athlete / Influencer: Leon Lett
On Thanksgiving Day in 1993, Dallas Cowboys’ defensive lineman Leon Lett attempted to scoop up the football after his team blocked a potentially game-winning field goal, but he botched the fumble recovery and gave the Dolphins another (successful) shot at winning. Almost a decade later, Snickers teamed up with NFL Films on a mini-doc chronicling the root cause of his infamous mistake: hunger. The intentionally over-the-top Snickers Thanksgiving spot, created by BBDO New York, had all of the feels of an NFL Films documentary (including your favorite voiceover) and creatively engaged fans by encouraging them to visit a microsite to “forgive Leon” and send him to the Cowboys-Dolphins rematch in 2011.
2. Nike — Thanksgiving (2013)
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Athlete / Influencer: Calvin Johnson and Diddy
What are we thankful for every single year? Ads that come out of Nike’s relationship with Wieden + Kennedy. This throwback spot was part of the brand’s “Calvin & Johnson” campaign which leaned on the former Detroit Lions star receiver and music mogul Diddy. In this spot, Diddy plays the role of “Johnson,” the football star’s alter-ego who’s shouldering the proverbial load of their family at the dinner table on Thanksgiving so “Calvin” can stay focused on the field. Must have worked… Megatron and his Detroit Lions schooled the Packers 40-10 for their first win on Turkey Day in a decade.
3. Nationwide — Thanksgiving Seconds (2015)
Athlete / Influencer: Peyton Manning
Back before his farewell tour, everyone’s favorite Nationwide frontman, Peyton Manning, gave the company’s famous jingle a Thanksgiving spin for a rendition that feels all too familiar. Remember his ode to chicken parm? In the spot created by McKinney, “Nationwide is on your side” turns into “Turkey leg you taste so good” as Manning celebrates his holiday just like the rest of us: watching football and indulging in a regrettable second helping of food.
4. Red Bull — The Story of Thanksgiving (2013)
Agency: Kastner & Partners
When will animated ads become as much of a staple on linear as they are on digital? Possibly when pigs fly—which happens (literally) in this spot from Red Bull. In the creative commercial, the brand sets out to discover how the turkey became a Thanksgiving Day staple, offering up their version of the story, in the form of an animated story developed by Kastner & Partners. Everyone knows that Red Bull gives you wings, but unfortunately there was only enough of the energy drink for the other animals in the farm. The turkey got left behind and the rest is history.
5. NHL — Rangers vs Bruins Thanksgiving Showdown (2013)
Athlete / Influencer: Mike Richter and Cam Neely
Football isn’t the only sport that throws a big bash on Turkey Day. The NHL’s revamped Thanksgiving Showdown between the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins in 2013 (which was halted the previous year because of the lockout) was fueled by this lighthearted spot that gives an inside look at the rivalry from the perspective of a passionate family of hockey fans. The spot was directed by Bobby Farrelly who co-directed the iconic comedy films “There’s Something About Mary” and “Dumb and Dumber” and also features former Bruins star Cam Neely and former Rangers goalie Mike Richter.
Have a Rad Ad we should feature next? Submit a tip here.
This week in sports advertising, Baker Mayfield learns fiscal responsibility from his fraternity, Peloton gets clever for Christmas season, and Wieden+Kennedy helps Nike continue to encourage dreamers.
Get Hashtag Sports in Your Inbox
Learn how to connect with the next generation of sports fans
Leave this field empty if you’re human:
See all stories from Rad Ads
This week in sports advertising, Foot Locker's Discover Your Air Network debuts, Gatorade fuels a friendly family competition, and Grant...
Name: Tim Shanahan Job: Senior Manager, Marketing & Promotions Company: MLB Network LinkedIn: Tim Shanahan In 140 characters or less,...
Giselle Aritsy shares the importance of data with context, MLS' focus on live media, and how Hamilton inspired her personal...
While you were quarantining this past year and living with so much uncertainty, you may not have noticed that the face of sports has irrevocably changed. But your fans noticed....
In his role as Director of Integrated Marketing for the San Jose Sharks, Patrick Hooper has spent a decade integrating web strategies, social media direction, mobile app development and analytics...
In his role as Blackbird’s Chief Executive Officer Ian McDonough delivers growth, innovation, partnerships and successful investment in content across global markets and has helped accelerate the adoption of remote...
Matt Prevost from BetMGM shares his predictions on the future of sports betting, partnerships with some of the most well known entities in sports, and learnings from the year 2020
In his (recent) role as the Rajasthan Royals digital head, Stuart Cope created and executed a content strategy for the team that grew their global fan footprint, aided in the...