Ad of the Day: Spike Lee, Charles Barkley and Samuel L. Jackson Are on the Road Again

Capital One's star trio returns for the Final Four

In a fresh series of Capital One ads from DDB Chicago that broke over the weekend, Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson and the newly minted Round Mound of Sit Around (aka Charles Barkley) hit the highway again for the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four.

These guys famously traded quips in a similar campaign last year that earned two Clio Sports Awards. Lee directed those earlier commercials, and the new flight as well.

By now the three amigos have grown so close, they can finish each other's sentences (somewhat) and have even begun dressing alike (which is to say badly)—or as Slam-Chunk (Barkley) would say, "Hashtag #Twinning!"

Later, Barkley confides that he's grown bored with his iconic nickname Sir Charles, so his traveling companions suggest some choice alternatives. ("Number 34 With Fries" sounds especially tasty.)

"It's honestly difficult to keep track of all the ad-libbing that happens when we're filming," Daniel McCaskey, vice president of brand strategy and advertising, tells Adweek. "We actually count on it when we're writing the scripts. Letting them be natural and play off of each other creates some of the most memorable moments we capture."

Barkley's inability to make baskets at a toll booth is a case in point. Lee and Jackson can barely hold it together as they mercilessly razz March Sadness and urge him to change his game:

Next, the guys give their vocal chords a time-warped workout by singing along to—of all things—Rupert Holmes' annoyingly addictive 1979 hit "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)":

"DDB explored a number of songs in several genres to find a quirky, catchy tune. 'Escape' checked the boxes," says McCaskey. "It's one of those guilty-pleasure tunes you can't help but sing along to. And, let's face it, it's humorously out of character for them to be caught singing it."

The client has gone down this road before, but the stars' undeniable chemistry and winning performances keep things moving in the right direction. They're not just spinning their wheels.

The push includes contests in which fans can win prizes, and social activations featuring GIFs from the commercials. Maroon 5 will also headline the Capital One Final Four Jam Fest in Houston on April 3. (Maybe they'll add "Escape" to the set list. Let's hope they don't.)


Agency: DDB Chicago

Client: Capital One

Executive Vice President, Chief Creative Officer: John Maxham

Group Creative Director, Art Director: Mike Ackerman

Group Creative Director, Copywriter: Travis Parr

Associate Creative Directors, Art Directors: Brant Herzer, Michael Rosenthal

Associate Creative Directors, Copywriters: Tyler Campbell, Carlos Rangel

Art Director: Brittany Druker

Copywriter: Sean Collander

Executive Vice President, Integrated Production Director: Diane Jackson

Executive Producer: Will St.Clair

Associate Producer: Jakub Zajaczkowski

Production Manager: Polly Poulos

Talent, Music Manager: Linda Bres

Director: Spike Lee

Production Company: Pony Show

Editor: Meg Kubicka, WhiteHouse Post

Executive Producer: Kristin Branstetter

Producer: Dawn Guzowski

Finishing Effects: Filmworkers

Visual Effects: Churchill Studios

Executive Producer: Derek DeBoard

Visual Effects Supervisor: Rob Churchill

Colorist: Fred Keller

Editor: Brian Gannon:

Audio Engineer: Nick Papaleo

Music: "Escape" by Rupert Holmes

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.
Publish date: March 14, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT