By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

August 24, 2023 | 4 min read

‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up’ leans into the meme that alleges the sports league is scripted, as Key gathers players around to brainstorm outrageous storylines for the 104th NFL season.

Today, the National Football League (NFL) launched ‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up,’ a humorous campaign to kick off the forthcoming 2023 season, which starts on September 7 with the Detroit Lions at the Kansas City Chiefs.

The campaign, comprising two 60-second commercials, stars actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key and some of the league’s biggest names, including Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles and more – even Donna Kelce, mother of the Kelce brothers. Each of the spots leans into the internet conspiracy that the league is scripted, as Key, a devoted Detroit Lions fan, takes the director’s seat while the rest of the football players are actors.

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In the first spot, ‘The Last Page,’ Key and his cast of star players review the script for the 2023 season. As they review the script, they can’t help but skip to the last page for a sneak peek at this year’s Super Bowl.

The second spot, ‘The Table Read,’ sees the comedian open the floor with better-than-fiction stories from last year – such as the Kelce brothers’ showdown in Super Bowl LVII. But things quickly get out of hand as the cast begin reeling off their own outrageous ideas and plot twists for the impending season.

“Our goal was to make this campaign tongue-in-cheek, humorous and clever in the way we tapped into popular memes and cultural conversations about the league and its incredible real-life storylines that are better than anything you could make up,” said Tim Ellis, chief marketing officer at the NFL. “We really wanted to have fun with this and not take ourselves too seriously. We hope fans get a kick out of the campaign and are sitting on the edge of their seats to see what spectacles unfold this season.”

’You Can’t Make This Stuff Up’ was ideated and developed in partnership with creative agency 72andSunny, which was tasked with rallying excitement for the 104th NFL season.

Zach Hilder, executive creative director at 72andSunny, commented: “This campaign is a satirical response to the internet conspiracy that the NFL is scripted, but at the same time speaks to the sheer athleticism of its players and the entertainment value of the game itself. It’s so unbelievable, it has to be made up.”

The spots will premiere across TV, digital and social channels during the Thursday Night Football game on Amazon Prime Video, as the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Indianapolis Colts at home at 8pm ET on August 24.

16 pieces of campaign content will continue to roll out throughout the season, timed to key moments throughout the year, including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas and international games.

There are just a few weeks left to submit your entries for The Drum Awards for Creativity. Categories are open for craft, campaigns, companies and people.

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