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Synthetic Pictures' Justin Corsbie Tackles the Legend of J. J. Watt for Ford Trucks

High profile NFL star is rumored to have superhuman powers in series of comedy spots from Team Detroit

Synthetic Pictures' Justin Corsbie Tackles the Legend of J. J. Watt for Ford Trucks

Did he wrangle a marlin onto his boat with his bare hands? Is he sculpted like a super hero? Did Sasquatch really say that he saw him once, trumping through the brush? These are all questions asked by a range of people in a series of new comedy TV spot for Ford’s F-series trucks from Team Detroit directed by Synthetic Pictures’ Justin Corsbie, and the person they’re asking about is J. J. Watt, the popular, high-voltage defensive end for the NFL’s Houston Texans.

The spots, which come in a range of broadcast and web-only versions, shows various groups of Watt fans engaged in spirited banter about his famous exploits, including two young boys, followed by a couple of construction workers, a man and his barber chatting during a haircut, a couple out on a date, two ranch hands and a group of young women doing yoga in a city park.  

In each instance we cut to scenes of Watt doing something akin to what he’s been rumored to do, with his Ford pick up playing a key supporting role. For example, when they say they’ve heard he tames wild beasts, we see him tossing a bag of dog food in the payload with his trusty pooch by his side. “It’s the stuff legends are made of,” Watt says to the camera at the end of the spot.

Corsbie brought his skills working with improv actors and his intimate knowledge of the social-media fueled, sports fan mindset to the project, tapping into the reputation of Watt around the league as a larger-than-life player. “Based on the neo-legends of J.J., you’d think he’s a genetically engineered android built from the DNA of Vince Lombardi, Lawrence Taylor, Dick Butkus, Derek Thomas, and Ronnie Lott,” the director says. “This exaggerated public image provides the perfect springboard for comedy, establishing an almost inside joke with the viewer.”

The script presented Corsbie and his production team with a range of shooting situations and challenges, including working with a large cast over varied locations, directing kids and a dog and of course making sure the vehicles looked great. Shot over two days in Houston before the start of the football season, the ads are just the latest evidence of the surging popularity of Watt, who’s appearing in campaigns for a number of brands. The Texans are the focus of this season’s “Hard Knocks” series on HBO, which follows a pro club all through training camp. Not surprisingly, the shoot locations were mobbed by fans who splashed their pictures and selfies across the internet.

The work is airing regionally, including on spot buys on Houston Texans broadcasts, and is also featured nationally online.

Creative Agency

Art Director: (Jr) Evan Weiland

Associate Creative Director: Steven Presmyk

Copywriter: (Jr) Devin Jones

Creative Agency: Team Detroit

Creative Director: Jerod Bunjer

Digital Art Director: Lauren Sanders

Executive Creative Director: Todd Chumley

Executive Producer: Ryan Cook

Senior Art Director: Julie Veinberg

Music and Sound

Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

Sound Mix: Sam Casas @ Lime


Edit Assistant: Zack Winick

Edit Company: Cosmo Street

Editor: Kevin Anderson

Producer: Arielle Davis

Post Production / VFX

Colourist: Steve Rodriguez @ Apache Digital

Executive Producer: LaRue Anderson

Flame: Shinya Sato

Producer: Caitlin Forrest

Production Company

Director: Justin Corsbie

DOP: Dean Mitchell

Executive Producer: Allison Smith

Line Producer: Melissa Murphy

Production Company: Synthetic Pictures

Production Designer: Michael Grasley

Category: Automotive , Trucks and Vans

Genre: Comedy , Dialogue , People