Big Moments are Worthy of Big Ideas: Jimmie Johnson’s Legacy
Content by Kristin Dober
When racing legend Jimmie Johnson announced his retirement from the NASCAR Cup Series, we teamed up with Valvoline – the official motor oil provider of Johnson’s team with Hendrick Motorsports – and started brainstorming a video to honor his legacy as a seven-time champion in the series. As we worked through concepts, it became clear that narrowing down which moments to highlight throughout his decorated career would be a challenge.
We decided to start where it all began for Jimmie—on a motocross bike—staying true to his identity as a person and an original icon of the racing world. It tied in nicely with our Original Motor Oil campaign for Valvoline, paying homage to the legacy Jimmie built while building some brand equity of our own. This concept checked all the boxes; it was just a matter of bringing it to life.
Executing a creative idea is no small feat, and when done properly, it feels a little like magic. But in reality, it’s equal parts preparation and flexibility that makes it happen. Big, as a creative agency, knows this recipe well.
A well-formed plan that supports the creative vision and balances between the ever-present pillars of time and budget is critical. The production puzzle is a complex one and there is more than one way to assemble the final picture. A thorough understanding of all the pieces is key.
You can’t shoot a dirt bike on a soundstage without spending a ton of money, so finding a good location with resources that could support the creative vision was of utmost importance. We reached out to MillCreek MX, an active motocross racing park in Pell City, and they were both accommodating and incredibly supportive of our needs as we worked with them to scout the best areas of the track to film the stunts for the video. With their strong ties to the local motocross community, they also assisted us in identifying a very talented rider, 8-year-old Jet Capps, to act as our stunt rider for the video.
Teaming up with a great partner allowed us to feel confident that we were utilizing our budget in the right places to ensure those pieces of the puzzle would fit flawlessly.
A good plan is a guideline. It can flex as needed to accommodate challenges, whether it’s as complex as navigating production during a global pandemic or as simple as including weather-related contingency days in the schedule—both of which we took into account while determining our overall timeline. With the lines of communication open across the entire team, we leaned on our experience and strong knowledge of the process, and we found solutions that kept the initial creative vision front and center.
The result is a piece of work that does everything we hoped for: It tells a story that feels personal, resonates with our client, and connects with our audience on a deeper level.
And frankly, it was really dang fun to make.