Acura spoofs long-winded sports commentators in March Madness campaign

The spots pit ESPN analyst and former basketball player Jay Williams against comedian Seaton Smith.

Acura spoofs the typical sports commentary show in its new campaign to run during NCAA basketball finals.

Actual ESPN analyst, Jay Williams, sits at the desk with comedian Seaton Smith on the "Acura Less Talk Network," which plays off of the automaker's "Less Talk, More Drive" campaign. As Williams starts commenting on the action, leveraging his insights as a former college player at Duke University and professionally for the Bulls, Seaton cuts him off because its "sports talk without the talk or the sports."

The cars are prominent in the studio, and eventually, Williams gets the point that there is nothing else to say. In a first for Acura, whose U.S. base is in Torrance, Calif., the creative will be updated in real-time based on brackets, updates and game highlights.

The spots, by agency MullenLowe, are running on ESPN and Turner Sports sites through April 2nd. A companion social media campaign covers Facebook Instagram, Reddit and GIPHY. Fans will be able to share GIFs and memes featuring Williams’ reactions.

"When looking at Acura’s media surrounding the March college basketball tournament, we strategically found placements that would complement the creative being produced," said Phil Hruska, manager media strategy at American Honda, parent to Acura. "Knowing Acura had the ability to react in real-time using ad serving technology, we identified key placements where we could harness the power of the Acura Less Talk Sports Network featuring Jay Williams to respond to gameplay in a unique way."

The genesis of the "Less Talk, More Drive" campaign was to focus on the engineering and performance of the cars in a light-hearted way. 

A 2019 spot, "Two Words" distilled performance down to "Beat That." The "Beat That" racing spot then led to a "Beat That" game, that has garnered more than 130,000 plays since it debuted in February.

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