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ESPN's Life Needs Sports Spots Feature Athletic Celebs and Iconic Soundtracks

Created by Droga5, the campaign's tap into universal appeal with classic hit hip-hop songs and hilarious cameos by world's top sports stars

ESPN's Life Needs Sports Spots Feature Athletic Celebs and Iconic Soundtracks

Today, ESPN’s newest brand campaign launches globally across the ESPN Platform.

Anchored in the simple truth that Life Needs Sports, the campaign is the first collaboration with Droga5, the agency tapped to handle integrated strategic and creative duties for the ESPN brand.

Life Needs Sports celebrates the powerful role sports play in fans’ lives.

The campaign acknowledges that all fans are unique, with their own vernacular, sense of humor, styles and traditions. From the inspirational to the emotional, to the offbeat and beyond, the creative executions tap into universal sports truths and forge genuine connections with distinct fan groups.

“We feel now is the right time to remind people just how integral a role sports plays in our lives. Life Needs Sports is a sentiment that resonates with fans and will facilitate an ongoing dialogue,” said Wanda Young, SVP Marketing and Consumer Engagement. “Only ESPN can have this authentic conversation with fans in real time across our platform. Throughout this campaign we’ll champion the collective experience and emotion of sports.”

Added David Droga, Creative Chairman and Founder at Droga5, “Life Needs Sports—it couldn’t be more true. But it’s also more than a tagline, it’s an articulation of ESPN’s unwavering belief and underscores the brand’s purpose. This campaign connects with fans during their sports’ peak moments in a way that’s genuine and authentic.”

Sean Hanrahan, SVP of Brand and Marketing Solutions at ESPN said, “Sports give us what we need, when we need it—inspiration, connection, escape. It also provides relatable metaphors that help us better understand the world around us.  Through the Life Needs Sports campaign, ESPN will surprise and delight fans with unique observations and insights about sports.”

Life Needs Sports will key in on culturally relevant moments across a variety of sports. In the coming weeks, ESPN will release creative executions tied to the NBA, MLB, WNBA and even the Scripps National Spelling Bee, among others.

At launch, the marquee creative focuses on the NBA. Entitled “Smaller,” it pays tribute to many of the NBA’s “small ball” players including Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry and Terry Rozier, who have defied conventional NBA height standards and inspired an entire generation of young ballers to play the game differently. As “Smaller” articulates, sports reminds fans that Life Measures Height, Sports Measures Heart.

To deliver this message, ESPN enlisted the rapper Skee-Lo to re-record his cult classic 1995 hit song “I Wish” with new lyrics. In the original, Skee-Lo laments that he’d like to be a little bit taller. In this version, Skee-Lo wishes he were a little bit smaller so he, too, could change the game. ESPN created a long-form version, which pays homage to the track’s original music video.

ESPN Life Needs Sports: "True Love" from ESPNFrontRow on Vimeo.

A Major League Baseball themed execution, “True Love,” also debuts today. “True Love” taps into the relationships MLB players have with their bats and features:

Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
Delino Deshields, Rangers
Javier Baez, Cubs
Alex Gordon, Royals
Gerardo Parra, Rockies
Kevin Kermaier, Rays
Terry Francona, Indians (Manager)
Wilson Contreras, Cubs
Ryan Howard, Phillies

Additional creative will roll out in the coming weeks and months, including the WNBA focused “Bossy,” which shares a powerful message about unapologetic leadership.

Life Needs Sports includes television, digital, social, audio, print, and outdoor executions. It will be activated in ESPN territories around the world, including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, India, South Africa and the United Kingdo
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Advertiser: ESPN

Marketing Coordinator: Sarah Connors

President: Ed Erdhardt (Global Sales and Marketing)

Marketing & Engagement Director: Sean Hanrahan (SVP), (SVP MArketing Solutions)

Creative Agency

Creative Agency: Droga5

Copywriter: Evan Barkoff, Sean Buckhorn

Art Director: David Spradlin, Gonzalo Navarro

Strategist: Newman Granger

Producer: Jacob Vogt (“Smaller”), Isabella Lebovitz (“True Love”)

Group Creative Director: Brandon Pierce

Group Account Director: Shane Chastang

Interactive Producer: Andrew Puzzuoli (Senior), Emily Blumhardt (Associate)

Data Strategy Director: Andrea Campbell

Director of Film Production: Jesse Brihn, Bryan Litman

Director of Business Affairs: Jocelyn Howard

Associate Design Director: Mark Yoon

Senior Business Affairs Manager: Kiki Powell

Communications Strategist: Emily Langham, Michael Pignone (Director)

Head of Communications Strategy: Colleen Leddy

Head of Strategy: Harry Roman-Torres

Legal Counsel: Zachary Werner

Data Strategist: Joshua Gordon

Brand Strategist: Samira Zebian (Senior Director)

Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale

Print Producer: Rose Mahan, Ariel Wakasa-Gonzalez (Senior)

Strategy Director: Harry Roman-Torres

Designer: Erin Wilson

Executive Producer: Tricia Lentini Himot (Film)

Music Supervisor: Mike Ladman, Jonathan Hecht

Creative Chairman: David Droga

Digital Agency

Design Lead: Juan Monasterio

Production Company

Production Company: Epoch

Executive Producer: Melissa Culligan

Director: Zach Heinzerling

DOP: James Laxton

Producer: Susan Hebert


Edit Company: “Smaller” - Cabin Edit/ “True Love” - Second Child

Editor: Graham Turner/Nick Ljubicich

Producer: Smaller - Susan Hebert/ True Love - Liz Lydecker,Francess Tom-Sahr

Executive Producer: Scott Chinn (Second Child)

Managing Director: Managing Partner Carr Schilling (Cabin Edit) /

Post Production / VFX

Post Production Company: “Smaller” Post Production The Mill/ “True Love” Post Production Second Child

Producer: Michael Brown (Associate - The Mill)/ Francess Tom-Sahr

2D Artist: Antoine Douadi, Rachel Moon, Eric Sibley, Dan Bowhers, Gabriel Kim, Ari Garber

Telecine: Smaller - Fergus McCall/ Lenny Mastrandrea @Nice Shoes Music

2D Lead: Jeff Robins

Senior Producer: Freya Hewett

Executive Producer: Chris Kiser (The Mill)


Artist: Skee-Lo/Kendrick Lamar ft. Zacari

Recording: Barking Owl Studios

Song: I Wish/ LOVE


Sound Company: “Smaller” Heard City

Producer: Andi Lewis

Audio Mix: "Smaller" - Keith Reynald/ “True Love” Second Child Eric Milano

Category: Publications and media , Tv and radio

Genre: Experiential , Music & Sound Design , PR , Storytelling , Stunts