Kevin Hart Gets Ballsy For New Tommy John Campaign

By Jeff Beer

Let’s just say Kevin Hart is no fan of Newton’s cradle. In a new series of ads for underwear brand Tommy John, the comedian introduces us to the concept of Hart’s Cradle which, spoiler alert, doesn’t involve a bunch of balls bouncing around and crashing into each other. This is just one public service announcement in Hart’s 22-episode Kevin Hart’s Morning Briefing short video series for the brand.

Created with Tommy John, agency Preacher, and his own Hartbeat Productions, five episodes have been released over the last week, and garnered more than 5 million views. “I’ve been in the entertainment business a long time and have done a lot of work on the ground promoting tours, movies, and brands throughout my career,” says Hart, in an email. “I’ve found that digital content works well because it’s accessible, shareable, and fans can engage with it. These short digital ads continue to be so successful for Tommy John because they hold your attention with funny and relatable content that’s unique and authentic to the brand.”

Hart’s no stranger to brand deals, with high-profile campaigns for global brands like Nike and H&M. Like Dave Chapelle says, Hart’s the first comedian that a Drake song could be about. But his relationship with Tommy John came about in perhaps the simplest way possible. He wore the underwear, loved it, and Instagrammed his love. That was in 2013. Tommy John founder and CEO Tom Patterson immediately reached out to say hi. He heard back from Hart… in 2016. And even though the brand doesn’t really trade in celebrity endorsement, after Patterson met with Hart and saw for himself the comedian’s passion for the brand and willingness to be involved in the brand, a deal was struck. Which Hart promptly announced on Facebook Live.

While Hart’s been regularly reminding his more than 95 million fans and followers across social media about the undercarriage advantages of Tommy John underwear, this is the first official brand campaign the two have collaborated on.

Tommy John chief marketing officer Josh Dean says the idea for Morning Briefings came when Hart came to their office in New York to talk about engagement, performance, and more. “And he said he thought we could do a lot more on the digital side,” says Dean. “He suggested we come to L.A., with access to his production company Hartbeat, to create content that talks to fans about how Tommy John solves a lot of guys’ problems with underwear. That kicked off a super collaborative process between Hartbeat, Preacher, and our in-house creative team, to create this short video series.”

The videos will be released regularly over the next few months, with particular push around holidays like Father’s Day. The campaign may be rolling out over time, but creating them was done in a …. sorry … heartbeat. Preacher partner and Chief Creative Officer Rob Baird say it was a quick but collaborative process. “Together, we developed the scripts, setting, and production approach in order to capitalize on Kevin’s off the cuff wit and improvisational style,” says Baird. “The non-traditional shoot–and Kevin’s amazing talent–allowed us to get a calendar’s worth of content in one hustling day.”

Hart’s level of enthusiasm for the brand and stamina to create the content so quickly should come as no surprise. That Herculean productivity level is one of the reason’s he’s the world’s most successful comedian right now (and one of Fast Company‘s Most Productive People).

“I asked to be a partner in Tommy John because I loved the product first and related to the brand. When I commit to something, I’m all in,” says Hart. “I wanted to be a true partner and an asset in growing the brand, so we used my entertainment company, Hartbeat Productions, to co-produce the content that felt authentic to both me and Tommy John. The goal going in was to produce something that I knew my audience would respond well to. I’m proud to say that it’s already showing incredible results in a very short amount of time.”


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