Both Sides of the Coin: A Tale of Two NFL Photo Shoots
Gino Reyes – Head “Creative” Coach: The Mastermind, comes up the plays and calls the shots on the field.
Matt Nigro – General “Account” Manager: The Architect, negotiates contracts and signs the best players to build a winning team.
GR - The power of 2012’s International Series creative work comes from a vantage point not normally seen by the average NFL fan. Our creative intent was to showcase these athletes without their helmet, an NFL International Series first. By doing this we would provide the audience with a firsthand look at whom these players are, in order to help familiarize them as individuals, not just anonymous jerseys. The only problem is how do we shoot the star players from two football teams, in two different cities.
GR - We were looking to capture two images per player, a more personal portrait shot, and a more athletically driven action shot. The final effect is a glimpse of who these players are and what they bring to the game. While on set just standing next to these athletes was an experience unto to itself. See images below to see what I mean...
MN - The most interesting part of this year’s campaign is that Nike has replaced Reebok as the official uniform sponsor for the NFL. So while over the past two seasons we’ve built these campaigns using actual in-game photos of each team’s top players, this year we weren’t able to use the images with the old uniforms.
MN - So we were challenged to source photographers and manage photo shoots to capture the top 8-10 players from each team. While certainly an exciting proposition, this was by no means easily achievable within the very strict timelines, budgets and extremely limited access to these hi-profile athletes. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that agreeing to take this on would be a herculean task, but of course, we were up to and welcomed the challenge.
MN - In less than a month from the final budget approval we were able to plan and coordinate photo shoots with each team at their facilities in Massachusetts and Missouri. We literally built photo studios on the fields, with enough room to be able to capture the dynamic and extraordinary athleticism that have made these top ranked players house-hold names throughout the United States, and beyond.
MN - With grueling shoot schedules that literally had us on set for up to 16 hours a day, we successfully shot 18 of the top players on the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams, including one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, Tom Brady (if any of you “European football” fans aren’t familiar with him, he’s married to a lovely woman named Giselle).
GR - Seriously these guys are gigantic and I am not saying that because I am a furious 5 foot whatever, but these guys are larger than life on all levels. The way they carry themselves, their physical build and the control they have over their actions, they are like no one I have ever met in my life.
MN - Timing was certainly one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, as we were limited to only 10 minutes with some players. And trust me it becomes an even BIGGER issue when some of the linemen, at close to 400lbs, actually need 2 assistants just to put their jersey on.
GR - However their intense conditioning definitely has its setbacks, considering that I am older than most of these guys and I look like a newborn baby compared their superhero features.
MN - I can attest to the intense conditioning, because in addition to my normal responsibilities on set, I was also serving as wardrobe stylist, adjusting some jerseys, but mostly pants (budget was limited to hiring a dedicated wardrobe or make-up stylist, and we went with the later).
GR - Speaking of super heroes — I was expecting superstar Tom Brady to be, well Tom Brady — to my amazement he was probably the most polite and professional of all the players.
MN - Not only was it simply astounding that he agreed to do this, but I fully agree with Gino in that he was a consummate professional and just cool. In my mind, being a pro goes beyond just doing your job to the best of your ability, it’s allowing and even helping others to do theirs at their best.
GR - Overall both shoots went incredibly well, despite all the aforementioned challenges and curve balls. Aaron Hewitt our photographer and his crew were unbelievably adept at being able to guide these guys to do exactly what we needed in front of the camera. I must say that we were truly blessed with the perfect team. What we walked away with is stunning photos of perspectives that even the most hardcore American fan would love to see, which I think will be an exclusive treat for our English audience.
MN - What we were able to accomplish with the parameters in place was nothing short of amazing. Not only did we feel it all along, but just as importantly, our clients saw and felt that they were a part of creating something truly great. Experiencing that level of dedication and excellence on all sides is what it really feels like to be in the pros.