28 September 2000

THEY'RE NOT CHEERLEADERS - BUT THEY PLAY THEM ON TV

Behind the scenes of the XFL cheerleader commercial shoot

Source: http://www.xfl.com

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.”