Fruit of the Loom Goes Totally ’80s With Comical Freeze-Frame Ads for Sweatpants

Plus, it aired a 'live' commercial on SportsCenter

You know the sweet feeling you get when you slip into Fruit of the Loom jogger-style sweats, and you’re so stoked that you belt out the brand’s jingle and leap into the air, and hang there, suspended high above the ground for 20 or 30 seconds, with just your lips moving?

Well, CP+B’s new “Sweet in Sweats” campaign is all about that feeling.

“Our team was talking about how putting on a pair of sweats can actually impact your mood,” CP+B creative director KT Thayer tells AdFreak. “You feel better the instant you put them on, which reminded us of those ads in the 1980s where people were so happy with whatever product they were advertising that they were compelled to jump into the air. It was ridiculous, and therefore perfect.”

“At some point in the ’80s there must have been some testing that suggested jumping into the air then freeze framing, then having a quick jingle play, was extremely compelling,” Thayer says, “because it seemed to be used in everything from cars to candy. Maybe even the final shot in a few John Hughes movies.”

Indeed, here’s a vintage Toyota commercial that fits the bill. As for “candy,” well, we couldn’t quickly find such an ’80s ad, but John Candy does freeze up in the final frames of Hughes ’80s flicks Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Uncle Buck. (Though he doesn’t jump around or start singing, thankfully.)

For Fruit of the Loom, “the effect was pretty simple, just a green screen and a few apple boxes,” Thayer says. (The latter for the talent to stand on. D’uh!) CP+B has gone the memorably silly route for the brand’s sweats before, nabbing a 2017 Project Isaac Award from Adweek in the Partnership Invention category for its faux-natty “Professionals Collection.”

On Tuesday, “Sweet in Sweats” leaped onto ESPN SportsCenter, with an in-studio commercial that was billed as the show’s first “live” ad, though it was actually filmed hours before airing. (That was part of the joke. D’uh!) Kenny Mayne hosted, with Justin Kilker, associate manager of the cable network’s CreativeWorks group, stepping into the sweet spot:

Kilker wasn’t very animated, but maybe that’s fitting, since the commercial itself wasn’t really transmitted live.

“I think using Kenny Mayne was a huge factor in why ESPN made so much sense. He has such a great dry sense of humor. We wanted his role to be pretty heavy handed, and he was able to deliver it in a way that still felt witty and fun,” Thayer says. “ESPN and Fruit of the Loom have had a great relationship over the past few years, and we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to promote our client’s brands. SportsCenter has the influential young male audience that we want to reach with our sweats message.”

Yeah, the show’s demo falls right into the brand’s sweet spot. *Bursts into song. Jumps into the air. Hangs there with a big ol’ grin.*

Client: Fruit of the Loom
Campaign Title: Sweet in Sweats
Agency: CP+B
VP/Chief Creative Officer: Ralph Watson
Creative Director: KT Thayer
Associate Creative Director: Shannon Gibney
Senior Copywriter: Josh Shelton
Director Of Content Production, Video: Sloan Schroeder
Integrated Producer, Video: Katie Frank
EVP/Managing Director: Danielle Whalen
VP/Account Director: Kristi Kirkeide Boutiette
Content Supervisor: Katie DeSimone
Content Manager: Carolyn Martin
Strategist: Emma Price
Social Media Supervisor: Jessica Rudis
Associate Media Director: Craig McDowell
Media Planner: Whitney Atkinson
Sr. Business Affairs Manager: Daphne Papadopulos
Production Company & City: Kapsized, Los Angeles
Director: Casey Storm
Executive Producer: Scott Kaplan
Producer: Jed Herold
Line Producer: Jed Herold
Editorial Company & City: Cut & Run, Santa Monica
Editorial Senior Producer: Jared Thomas
Editorial Executive Producer: Amber Farls
Editor: Andy Green
Assistant Editor: Thomas Rickert
VFX Company & City: Jogger, Santa Monica
Post Executive Producer: Rich Rama
Lead Flame Artist: Shauna Prescott
Telecine Company & City: Jogger London
Colorist: Yoomin lee
Telecine Producer: Maggie McDermott
Audio Post Production Studio & City: Beacon Street, Venice
Mix Engineer: Rommel Molina
Mix Engineer Assist: Vivi Rojas
Executive Producer (Mix): Leslie DiLullo
Principal: Andrew Feltenstein
Principal: John Nau
Sound Design Company & City: Beacon Street, Venice
Sound Engineer: Rommel Molina

@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: November 9, 2017 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT