THEY'RE NOT CHEERLEADERS -
BUT THEY PLAY THEM ON TV
Behind the scenes of the XFL cheerleader commercial shoot
When the XFL kicks-off on February 3, 2001, you can bet that the
raw energy created by the debut of the newest professional sports
league won’t only be attributable to the players. In the grand tradition
of American football, there’s one thing that always generates some
heat and excitement, the cheerleaders.
And since the XFL’s cheerleaders will not be your typical beauty-queen
wannabes, the woman chosen to star in the ads had to embody
the same sort of natural charisma and enthusiasm that the XFL will
seek in its cheerleaders, as well as, its players. And did we mention
that the XFL Cheerleaders will also be really, really hot?
Such a fact was not lost on The NBC Agency, which recently produced
a series of eye-popping promos featuring women portraying
the other stars of the new league - the XFL Cheerleaders. The campaign
was conceived under the direction of John Miller, president of The
NBC Agency, and Vince Manze, executive vice president/creative director.
With WWF Entertainment’s David Sahadi as a consultant, The NBC Agency
has created a campaign that is sexy yet clever and smart—definitely
a difficult task.
Recognizing that the sideline entertainment will garner as much
attention as the action on the field, co-directors Joe Livecchi
and John Bonito of NBC 2000 thought it would be a natural tie-in
to introduce the world to the XFL cheerleaders by placing them in
a variety of football-related settings. Their biggest challenge
was to keep the footage of the women ‘tame’ enough for all audiences.
One revealing promo, “Shower”, is a parody of the ‘bits n pieces’
choreography from Austin Powers fame and uses a continuous tracking
shot of the cheerleaders washing up after a game. According to Livecchi,
“There was a lot of nakedness. Finding what falls within what’s
acceptable for television was somewhat of a challenge.” He’s not
kidding. The spot required 28 takes to ensure that they had enough
“air-able” material to make it past the censors.
Other spots such as the hilarious “Shorty Shorts”, “Eyes”, or “Locker
Room” show the individuality and umm...attributes...of each XFL
Cheerleader. Livecchi acknowledges that, in the end, “We knew were
pushing the line a little bit, which is after all, what the XFL
is all about.”