Matt Hofherr & John Matejczyk — Co-Founders, MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER
Matt & Jon talk to TheNextGag about their work with the Golden State Warriors, what creative work touched them this year and why awards shows need to honor craft more.
Matt Hofherr & John Matejczyk are the Co-Founders of MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER in the USA.
Over the past 20 years, Matt has been a Managing Partner at seven ad agencies including direct, traditional, interactive, integrated and social shops. Jon, throughout his career, has gone through creative agencies, such as Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, TBWA\Chiat\Day or 180LA, as a Creative Director.
THENEXTGAG: HOW WAS THE END OF THE SPORTS SEASON FOR YOU?
MATT HOFHERR & JOHN MATEJCZYK: With the Golden State Warriors? Yes, it’s been exciting. We are thrilled.
TNG: CONGRATULATIONS ON THE TITLE BY THE WAY.
MH & JM: Thank you. That was really great for the team and the Bay Area. I think winning the NBA Championship probably happened sooner than anyone expected.
TNG: WHAT IS THE AGENCY ROLE FOR THE WARRIORS?
MH & JM: MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER is the Warriors’ agency and we work very closely with them to put them on the roadmap to be seen as the Bay’s team. They’re currently based in Oakland, about 20 minutes away from San Francisco, but they are moving to the city. So the whole thing was how do you communicate the move without upsetting the people in Oakland? One way to do that is to celebrate that they’re the team from the Bay Area, which Oakland is a part of. It also helped that they won the Finals because now they are everybody’s team.
Early on with the Warriors, we knew Stephen Curry might become something, but he was not a star, yet. So a lot of our message was “Look, we are trying really hard to be better. We’ve got to rehearse.” Now he’s one of the most recognizable names in the NBA.
In 2013, we did the “Midnight Shooter” spot featuring Klay Thompson just practicing hitting threes into the night. We had a voiceover with coach Jackson saying: “Good night, Oakland. Good night, San Francisco. Good night, San Jose. Sleep well to the gentle sound of the threes raining down.” The Sports Marketing Association declared it the best commercial in the NBA.
We started to gain momentum with “Midnight Shooter” and the next year was about bringing fans and the team together. Year 2, we had an open casting call among all the fans. It suddenly became a huge social event. All the news channels went, “Hey, want to be in a Warriors commercial?” When you are in the middle of baseball season, nobody is thinking about basketball, and now all of a sudden, you’ve got basketball in the news. And then the day that we had the casting, it was another news event. We hadn’t even shot the spot and we already had two news events.
TNG: I FIRST HEARD ABOUT YOUR AGENCY A WHILE AGO, WHEN I WAS SUBSCRIBED TO AD AGE AND YOU WERE CROWNED THE SMALL AGENCY OF THE YEAR. AT FIRST, I WONDERED WHAT IS THE AGENCY WITH THE ODD NAME? BUT I HAVE TO SAY, YOU REMEMBER IT.
MH & JM: Yes, it is a horrible name, isn’t it?
TNG: NO. I THINK THAT YOU REALLY NEED TO DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF, SO IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A NAME LIKE THIS.
MH & JM: It feels global somehow.
TNG: FIRST TIME, I HEARD IT. I THOUGHT IT WAS TURKISH.
MH & JM: There you go. That is awesome.
TNG: ARE YOU STILL A SMALL AGENCY?
MH & JM: We will probably end this year with 80 people, maybe. We have 65 now. We have a bunch of open jobs, so it’s feeling more mid-sized.
We’re in the top two floors of a high-rise in San Francisco, and recently took over half of another floor for a production department because we make so much rapid content. And, we also just busted out a fourth floor.
TNG: DO YOU ALSO DO SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE BRANDS?
MH & JM: We do social media for Audi, Netflix, and New Amsterdam. We come up with ideas for the Warriors, and they do a lot of their social media in-house. Of course, every idea has to work across all channels.
TNG: I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE NBA FINALS, AND SOMETIMES THE TEAMS ACCOUNTS WILL RESPOND VERY QUICKLY AFTER A GAME, SOMETIMES EVEN DURING A GAME. FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN KLAY HIT HIS HEAD.
MH & JM: It is pretty amazing. We were in a pre-production meeting with a big client, so we couldn’t be watching the game. I just got an Apple watch and after every quarter, I would get this little pulse from the Warriors app telling me “We are down by 10 points. We are down by three points.” So we finished the pre-production meeting, because we were checking the scores, and switched on the TV for the overtime the Warriors won. It was really fun. I think now it’s important for the apps to stay connected.
That’s where rapid content is key — it’s all about making good, clever, smart, in-the-moment stuff, and then repurposing it. For instance, after Klay would sink a three, the Warriors would post a little GIF that came from the commercial we shot. That got the most likes and re-tweets, by far.
TNG: WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR THE OFF-SEASON?
MH & JM: Usually, they take a good three to four months off. This year, we are going to get into planning much sooner. We had some ideas towards the end of the season that they just couldn’t focus on executing for obvious reasons. I am very excited, though. I think next year is going to be great. And they don’t have an issue with tickets. They’re definitely selling.
TNG: HOW BIG IS THEIR ARENA RIGHT NOW?
MH & JM: I think it is 22,000. It is not huge, but they’re moving to San Francisco soon. As with a lot of things, there have been delays, and I heard that the Governor of California put it on a fast track.
TNG: I FOLLOW ADVERTISING IN GENERAL AND SPORTS COMMERCIALS, ESPECIALLY THE ONES FROM NIKE, ARE OFTEN AMONG THE BEST. SPORTS WILL ALWAYS CONVEY AN EMOTION THAT IS HARD TO FOLLOW FOR OTHER BRANDS. JUST LOOK AT THE QUALITY OF THE WORK PRODUCED FOR THE RETIREMENT OF DEREK JETER.
MH & JM: I was hanging out with the creative director of the Gatorade spot last night and I was telling him that I hope it does well in Cannes. In fact, when Shots Magazine asked me for my prediction for Cannes, I said that it should do well. Cannes needs to return to honoring craft. Case study bullshit is the worst. The awards shows like Cannes used to celebrate great work, where you could sit, enjoy and say “Great work.” Now everybody does case studies. What happened to making wonderful advertising?
Take the Derek Jeter spot for Gatorade, for example. You really feel something. That spot was shown at the One Show and because everyone’s eyes were bleeding from all of the case studies, the place went crazy for a great commercial.
TNG: DO YOU HAVE WORK THAT YOU THINK IS GOING TO WIN AT CANNES?
MH & JM: The most important creative show and the most honored among creatives is the One Show. Cannes is much more famous globally, but the One Show is more revered. So, we have work that did really well at the One Show with Netflix “Spoilers.” Shots put it on their list of 20 contenders at Cannes.
The main idea of the site is that it is just a button that says “Spoil me,” and it will randomly show you key scenes of all your favorite TV shows. People couldn’t stop hitting the button. Netflix had done a study showing that people actually enjoyed being spoiled, and that it made them more likely to want to watch a show.
TNG: IS THERE A CAMPAIGN THAT YOU SAW THIS YEAR THAT YOU REALLY LIKED?
MH & JM: I just think that there is some work that is simple and iconic. Some of the print and outdoor work I really loved. The more we get in the world of digital, the more I just like simple print.
Like last year, I was in Paris and there was all this McDonald’s stuff, just the artwork without any logo. And the interesting thing is that it got my whole family talking about it. We started going around Paris looking for them.
We both liked the Smart car (i.e. Paul, John // Yoko). I thought it was really funny. Any chance to make fun of Yoko.
I hope Old Spice does well. Old Spice is so above and beyond great. I like to say that they invented their own language that only they get to speak. No other brand can do what Old Spice is doing right now. If they are trying, they just look like they are trying to rip off Old Spice. It’s amazing. This year’s campaign there’s a robot trying to become a real human man, so he uses Old Spice to smell like a real human man.
TNG; SOCCER IS REALLY BIG IN THE WORLD, EXCEPT IN THE US. DO YOU THINK THE SPORT WILL TAKE OFF IN THE US OR WILL THE USA SCANDAL SLOW ITS PROGRESSION ?
MH & JM: I think MLS is going to explode. Soccer is the game in the U.S. that will go through the roof ten years from now. Even the way they are marketing the Women’s World Cup. The media is going to get behind this sport, and there will be more and more sponsors behind it, too. It’s also just a fun sport to watch. I think soccer is sort of an intelligent and relaxing kind of game for viewers.
Also the young kids love it. I think it’s safe to say that most kids here play soccer at some point so they love watching it. And the girls? Forget about it. They are obsessed with the players. My daughter is 17 years old and she and her friends will always watch the World Cup. They love the guys. If I was a brand right now and could sponsor soccer, I totally would.
TNG: I LOVE SOCCER. PERSONALLY.
MH & JM: I worked on the San Francisco Giants for a period of my career. I worked on the Oakland Raiders for a period of my career, and currently have the Warriors on the roster. I think that what fans want from a sports team is not necessarily to win, but they just want their team to be competitive. And I want to feel the effort. I want to feel that they are really trying.
I think the problem with the NBA is that throughout the season, they are not really playing defense. You don’t see them grinding it out. Whereas football/soccer they are grinding it out, they’ve got to earn it. You feel that if they are invested, I should be invested.
Even Major League Baseball, the season is so long. We lost a game, who cares? Soccer, you are down one goal, it can be over.
TNG: ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS ?
MH & JM: Our big three right now in terms of account size are AAA, the American Automobile Club, hundred years old, the most trusted brand in America, Netflix, of course, and Audi.
Audi is a digital content and social media account. We do all the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We are also making more stunts and films. We did a film for them a couple months ago, which was to support their sponsorship of the Avengers movie. Stan Lee, the creator of all the Marvel characters, is 92 years old and he cameos in all the movies. So we said it’s time for him to pass his knowledge on to a new generation and we made the Stan Lee Cameo School. Audi made a cameo appearance in a film about cameos. We had Lou Ferrigno, the original Hulk, and all kinds of inside jokes.
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