The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.
- George Orwell
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they donít have to worry about the answers.
ó Thomas Pynchon
Between 2006-2008, Reebok & the NFL revealed a series of ad spots (“NFL Fantasy Files”) in which pro athletes would be filmed performing some incredible feats. These videos became viral sensations that sparked untold worldwide debate on whether they were real or fake. The hint comes from the producer of the series, Blue Room:
http://blueroomnyc.com/nfl-fantasy-files.phpOver the past four years, Blue Room has produced 18 spots that each feature a pro football player performing an amazing feat in one continuous :30 shot as part of a viral and on-air marketing campaign for Reebok and the NFL. The dual purpose of the series has been to direct traffic to NFL.com and to further establish Reebok's brand within the world of professional football. The ads have garnered a large amount of popular and critical attention with 35 million YouTube views, a Gold Promax/BDA award for "Best On Air Promotion for a Website" and a 2008 Silver Webby for branded content and promotion. Sam Farmer of the LA Times called the series a "fantastic commercial success" and noted that the ads have become so well known that players are now pitching their own ideas for next year's spots.
Although the target audience has mainly been American football fans, it's been a welcome surprise to see the number of user-generated versions from places as disparate as Mexico and Sweden. Along with the foreign renditions, there are also dozens of YouTube spin-offs made by homegrown football fans from across the nation. See some of our favorites here (link to a sequence we've created).
The success of the series seems due to the indetectible nature of the effects, the sheer awesomeness of the crazy stunts and the casual way the players appear to pull them off. As the campaign heads into its fifth year, the Fantasy Files have become synonymous with the start of the football season and all of the passion, bravado and hometown hopes that accompany it.
Here's one of Flacco hitting clay pigeons like in the Manziel video:
I won't hold my breath waiting for a reliable source to state that the Manziel feats are real.