- Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016
Add New York Rangers’ all star Rod Gilbert to the list of prominent New York athletes who are #NotAFan of domestic violence, as evidenced by the latest spot in the fan-focused public awareness campaign. Created and produced by New York creative agency Blonde + Co for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the campaign inspires fans to take a stand against perpetrators.
The subject is timely and relevant, given recent news of domestic violence incidents with New York Giants kicker Josh Brown and New York Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia (who appeared but was later pulled from a #NotAFan spot). The campaign features well-known New York athletes as Yankees manager Joe Girardi; former Knicks star John Starks; Liberty’s Kiah Stokes; and Cosmos’ Lucky Mkosana and Giovanni Savarese.
The spots are airing on the MSG Network, YES Network, SNY Network, ONE World Sports and featured on the teams’ various social media platforms, websites and indoor/outdoor advertising at stadiums. Additionally, Clear Channel donated space in Times Square, and is featured on screens inside New York City taxis.
Drawing Viewers In
Blonde + Co founder Julie Stahl explained that the company partnered creatively on the project with director Jimmy Ferguson and writer Alexis Grenell. The goal of the live action was to grab viewers’ attention by crafting the spots more esthetically like sports commercials than conventional PSAs, and to drive engagement across diverse viewing platforms.
“The idea was to make it not look like a PSA,” Stahl says. “We wanted these to feel more like a Nike or Gatorade commercial, something sports fans are used to seeing star athletes in. The goal was captivate viewers with cinematic visuals and then get their attention with the domestic violence message.”
The new spot featuring Rod Gilbert begins like others in the campaign. Lit to create a sense of mystery, we see establishing shots of Madison Square Garden intercut with shots of a hockey player practicing and readying himself for their big moment. The sound design, which begins subtly, quickly escalates with a disconcerting mix of sirens, 911 calls, heartbeats and heavy breathing. The visuals and sonics crescendo into silence with a close-up of Gilbert’s stern face stating simply: “I’m a hockey fan, a New York Rangers fan, but I am not a fan of domestic violence.”
Numerous Production Challenges
For Ferguson and the Blonde + Co team, which included Ex-Producers Jennifer Susswein and Glenn Chocky (who also edited the spots); the key production challenges centered on the logistics of shooting star athletes with extremely restricted time and with limited access to necessary locations
“The production was full of challenges because it all happened very quickly, with a limited budget and crazy scheduling constraints with all the different teams,” Stahl notes. “We overcame that by using a small, nimble crew that could handle the pressure of complicated set-ups for filming and then reset for photography. Literally a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this project.”
Handling creative duties on the print side for Blonde + Co was photographer Celeste Sloman, Creative Director Grey Zisser and Associate Creative Director Andrea Cueva. In addition, the broadcast spots featured the color grading expertise of The Mill, New York — and the sound design/audio mix from U.K. based, Enos Desjardin.
Reflecting on the project, Stahl adds that she is most proud to see that the campaign is helping change how sports leagues handle domestic violence issues. The recent swift suspension of Giants’ Josh Brown suggests they are listening.
“The amount of press around this issue and the timing of this campaign has helped, not least of which involved featured athlete Jeurys Familia of the NY Mets,” Stahl says. “Now more than ever, we are proud to raise awareness around this important issue.”
About Blonde + Co
Award-winning New York based Creative Content House, Blonde + Co creates visual content that entertains, educates, inspires and incites changes in behavior. Blonde +Co partners with brands and organizations that share a common goal: to make our world more beautiful. For more information visit http://www.blondeandco.com