NFL season is right around the corner, which means fantasy football season is coming, which means millions of Americans will soon become irrationally angry with large men who they have never met. To explore the psyche of the average fantasy football obsessive, Lenovo, The Onion, and the NFL are teaming up for Tough Season, a web series about a schlubby manager and his beloved team.
Lenovo, in partnership with DigitasLBi, has sponsored the eight episode series as a way of promoting both its ‘Fantasy Coach of the Year‘ contest (where the winner will receive Super Bowl tickets) and its flexible, snazzy, Lenovo Yoga computer, which is presented in the series as a key to fantasy football success.
The main character is Brad Blevins, a fictional office worker who will add a touch of transmedia interactivity to the series through his own personal Twitter account. Within the show and over social media, Brad will interact with his team and respond to their performances. The kicker is the participation of the players themselves: NFL stars with roles in Tough Season include Matt Forte, Andrew Luck, and Larry Fitzgerald.
“Brad will have his own Twitter handle and Facebook page — and starting with episode one, seven NFL players (some of who also appear on the show) will engage with Brad on these channels throughout the season,” said Kevin Berman, Lenovo’s director of North American advertising and marketing services. “And Brad won’t just tweet out episode — he’ll be reacting to what’s really going on during the season: commenting on games (as they relate to his fantasy football team), engaging with players, and weighing in on the fantasy coach contest leaderboard.”
Lenovo has chosen to distribute Tough Season via The Onion. The top satire publication has a history of releasing high-quality web mockumentaries, and judging by the first episode, Tough Season is primed to continue that positive track record. It’s a savvy mix of The League, The Office, and your average Sports Center commercial; even if it doesn’t live up to potential, it will remind fantasy owners that, no matter how badly their teams perform in 2013, at least they’re not as crazy, airheaded, and megalomaniacal as Brad Blevins.