"Your Cousin from Boston," the naively blundering pitch person for Samuel Adams Boston Lager, returns in a new spot by Goodby Silverstein & Partners that will break during the Red Sox season opener on Friday night.
In the commercial, directed by agency co-chair and cofounder Jeff Goodby, the Boston everyman hurls a stream of clueless questions at Red Sox great Nomar Garciaparra. The construct is an ESPN SportsCenter-style split screen, with the cousin interviewing Garciaparra about COVID-19 rules governing baseball.
Goodby directed the spot from his home office, watching the action on Zoom as two, in-person camera people shot Garciaparra and the cousin from their locations.
"I really didn’t mind [being remote]," Goodby explained. "There are some things that are good about it. You can focus on both of them and there are no distracting camera people or prop problems. You are only looking at these two guys. This is very personal and immediate."
The banter between a patient Garciaparra and the cousin in "The Nomah List" covers what’s banned in Boston and throughout baseball. There’s no more spitting, shouting in umpires' faces, high fives, fist bumps or butt slaps. Also, there are no more fans in the stands. "No mah fans doesn’t mean no mah Sams?" asks the cousin.
"The cousin character is meant to have some lighthearted fun with the city known for its unapologetic pride, legendary sports dynasties, strong accents, short tempers and love for its hometown brew, Sam Adams," said brand CMO Lesya Lysyj in a statement. "Your Cousin from Boston allows Samuel Adams to enter cultural conversations in timely and unexpected ways."
Goodby, who started his own legendary career as a copywriter, enjoys the occasional directing gig. They’ve included shooting agency-signature "Got Milk" ads and a standout Super Bowl spot where a donkey tries out for the Budweiser Clydesdale team.
"I have directed a lot of stuff over the years, pretty much one or two projects a year, usually something really challenging that I have never done before," said Goodby, adding, "I do it because I love it."
The agency’s trajectory with Sam Adams’ "Your Cousin" spots has tracked the impact of the illness on society and ad production. The campaign’s original spot, shot pre-COVID, was a full-scale production of the Boston cousin at a wedding. But it was held from March to May, as it felt insensitive to air it with the fear of the unknown permeating through early spring.
The cousin returned in June for a series of spots featuring him and three pals on a remote, Zoom split-screen shoot, chatting over brews. Live camera operators were allowed to shoot the talent in the MLB opener spot, showing some small return to the old days. The spot will air on NESN TV, New England’s sports network. It will continue to air there and on social media.
The "Your Cousin From Boston" campaign has helped strengthen Samuel Adams’ place as the No. 1 craft/domestic specialty brand family in New England. During the pandemic, Sam Adams’ cornerstone Boston Lager and Seasonal portfolio brands have spiked 16% and 14%, respectively, according to market research company IRI's total U.S. tracking.