Zambezi scores a hole-in-one for USGA
By Alixandra Rutnik on Aug 13, 2021
One Club Bronze Member showcases "future leaders" of golf
When I was a kid I was a terrible golfer, but the kids in Zambezi’s latest spot for the United States Golf Assosciation are already total pros. “Future Legends” directed by Andrew Gage, Director of Integrated Production at Zambezi, cast young golfers to recreate career-defining victories from three of the most world renowned professionals. The spot emulates when Tiger Woods, Michelle Wie West, and Payne Stewart won the U.S. Open Championship. The USGA is a proud supporter of youth golf programs, and “Future Legends” really captures the excitement of generations of golfers to come.
In addition to Andrew, we talked to a few more of our friends over at Zambezi to learn more about them and their new campaign: Carly Ayres, Account Supervisor; Kurt Gassman, Senior Copywriter; Eugene Chang, Senior Art Director; and Gavin Lester, Partner & Chief Creative Officer.
What is your personal tie to the golf game?
Andrew: I started playing golf with my dad when I was about 12. I fondly remember driving up to Ojai where my grandfather lived– we were three generations playing golf together. I thought a lot about family while I was directing this spot. I play golf less often now, but my kids are almost at the age where they are ready to learn, so we’ll be continuing the tradition soon.
"I thought a lot about family while I was directing this spot. I play golf less often now, but my kids are almost at the age where they are ready to learn, so we’ll be continuing the tradition soon."
What is Zambezi’s relationship with USGA?
Carly: Since May 2019, we’ve had an AOR relationship with USGA. We first worked together on a brand campaign for the U.S. Open Championship with Don Cheadle, and since then, we’ve worked on brand campaigns for the USGA and U.S. Women’s Open.
As the governing body in golf, USGA invests in multiple junior programs throughout the nation including First Tee, LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, and Drive, Chip, and Putt which increases access for junior golfers in more communities. USGA is a passionate partner for the future of the game.
When directing this spot “Future Legends,” why did you decide to recreate these pro-golfer winning moments?
Andrew: The message is universally relatable. Who hasn’t imagined what it would be like to be famous? Having kids depict these historical moments reminds us of our adolescent imagination– the dreamer that is still inside us, no matter what age. I focused on staying true to this simple storyline.
"Having kids depict these historical moments reminds us of our adolescent imagination– the dreamer that is still inside us, no matter what age."
“Whether they grow up to be champions or grow up to champion the game, the USGA will be behind them?” How did you decide this was the sentiment you wanted to capture?
Kurt Gassman & Eugene Chang: The vast majority of kids introduced to golf through USGA supported junior programs aren't going to grow up to be the next Tiger Woods, Michelle Wie West, or Payne Stewart, and that's OK because that's not their purpose. The USGA understands what makes this game so special is that everyone who plays golf has a unique relationship with it. The more young people who discover a passion for golf and bring their perspective along with it, the stronger the sport becomes for everyone.
"The more young people who discover a passion for golf and bring their perspective along with it, the stronger the sport becomes for everyone."
How did you determine which golf pros you wanted to emulate?
Andrew: All three athletes, Tiger, Michelle, and Payne are so widely known and loved. They have three of the most memorable U.S. Open victories. The world watched Tiger and Michelle grow up from children to champions, so it seemed fitting to include them. Payne Stewart's 1999 win is so incredible — every golfer’s dream — winning the U.S. Open with a 15-foot putt. We knew people would recognize the outfits and the poses right away.
What was a challenging, rewarding, and funny moment while directing this campaign?
Andrew: I really appreciate that I was given access to this historic footage. My values align with USGA and what they represent. And collaborating with the team at Zambezi was incredible. We have an incredible crew from our DP Andrew Wheeler who needed to match focal distances and camera angles, to our Wardrobe Stylist Lindsey Meyer who tailored the outfits down to a tee. Natalyia Laciste, Jackson Meyer, and Kevin Ramsey’s performances were near perfection. They are all exceptional golfers who had no prior acting experience. I couldn’t have asked for better portrayals. I asked the kids to rehearse over the weekend, and I was very impressed with how accurate they were. And seeing how proud they were when the spot aired was the most rewarding.
The challenge was to accurately capture these epic moments. We focused on every detail. Payne chewing gum in the close-up, and Michelle’s arm waggling before the putt– we didn’t want to leave anything out. It was a challenge for the VFX department at Fin Studios, but they weaved in the new footage seamlessly.
Natalyia, Jackson, and Kevin had plenty of fun moments throughout the whole process. I know they were ready to play a round of golf together after we wrapped.
Zambezi is a women-owned agency in a highly male industry. How do you think this affects the work environment?
Carly: We are very proud to be the largest certified woman-owned agency in the country. With Jean Freeman as a Principal and CEO, DE&I has always been baked into our DNA. This overarching focus affects our approach to the work that we produce on behalf of clients. It also helps ground our culture, ensuring that we are an equitable and collaborative team all focused on the same goals.
"We are very proud to be the largest certified woman-owned agency in the country. With Jean Freeman as a Principal and CEO, DE&I has always been baked into our DNA."
Zambezi is a corporate member of The One Club for Creativity. Why do you feel it is important to support the club in this way?
Gavin Lester: The One Club for Creativity has been a leading industry voice for supporting the growth and development of the creative community, as well as championing and supporting creative talent. We believe in The One Club’s mission and we value being part of its community. Together, we are helping cultivate the next generation of creative thought leaders and improving the industry for all.
"We believe in The One Club’s mission and we value being a part of its community. Together, we are helping cultivate the next generation of creative thought leaders and improving the industry for all."
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