All Tom Brady wants is a little help finding the Under Armour "coldblack" golf gear when he stops in a Dick's Sporting Goods store near his new house in El Segundo, Calif. Instead, he gets mocked by a store clerk who doesn't recognize the New England Patriots quarterback and proceeds to make fun of his non-existent "Bah-ston" accent, offering him "wah-tah" and baked beans.
That's the premise of a comedy video created by Under Armour and website Funny or Die that's going viral with some 900,000 views since going live this week. It gives the football star a chance to show off his straight-man comedic timing while offering the Baltimore-based sports apparel maker a new kind of exposure that's growing by the hour.
By the end of the three-minute routine, Brady has lost his cool.
"I'm not from Boston. I'm from California. I'm a native Californian. I went to Michigan. Now I play for New England. I'm the (beep) quarterback, you moron!" shouts an exasperated Brady.
None of the customers gawking at the guy from Boston recognize him either.
"Matt Damon, shame on you!," a woman with a southern accent yells as Brady storms out of the store after knocking down a cardboard figure of himself.
The use of a branded video as a marketing tool is a first for $1 billion Under Armour, as is the partnership with the comedy website, founded five years ago by Will Ferrell. The video idea grew out of a creative meeting in which Kevin Plank, Under Armour's founder and chief executive, asked his people to come up with something based around Brady, one of the company's high profile sponsored athletes.
"We wanted to showcase our athletes off the field, and show more of the personality off the field," said Steve Battista, Under Armour's senior vice president of creative.
The folks at Under Armour were going for an authentic environment and settled on the store site in Los Angeles, where Brady lives and likes to golf in the off season. Working with the website's writers and producers, they pegged the sketch to Under Armour's new spring line of "coldblack" golf apparel, designed to keep golfers cool in the hot sun.
"The humor is something that could be very realistic and spirals quickly into absurdity," Battista said. The video producers "came back with ideas and scripts and this was the first one we wanted to put out there. The premise is believable enough it gets you hooked in."
The video, which got 700,000 views in the first 24 hours after going live Tuesday as well as extra exposure on sports networks and websites, was directed by Funny or Die's Matt and Oz, written by David Ferguson and features actors such as "Community" star David Neher. All were impressed with Brady's comedic timing and improvisational abilities, according to Battista, who said the video was shot in the Dick's store in one day.
"I was laughing the whole day and they were like, 'No, you've got to get angry,''' Brady told CBS. "It was pretty much me being me. My teammates see me angry all the time. It's pretty easy to get riled up; that part of the acting is pretty easy."
Battista said the Internet video medium can show athletes in a different light and "opens up a different perspective for them and for our brand. This is a chance to show us in a different light and interject some humor into the brand."
Asked whether Under Armour, never one for subtle advertising, has other videos in the works, Battista said, "This is it, for now. We do have a lot of interest. A lot of athletes have put forth ideas for themselves and videos."
But he's not telling who or what.
"We have a lot of funny athletes on our roster," he said.