How CBS Sports Scored Big with Storytelling

When it comes to advertising during Sunday’s big game, a captivating story always wins. Here’s how the CBS Sports team accomplished this with their NFL AFC Championship spot using “Across The Sea.”

Sunday’s game is not only the biggest sporting event of the year—it’s also responsible for some of the most exciting and memorable advertising moments. Whether those spots are inspirational, thought-provoking, or there to elicit big laughs, they all rely on strong storytelling to stand out. 

The championship game is still a week away, but you can expect to see a trickling of these exceptional ads leading up to Sunday. A perfect example: CBS Sports’ recent NFL AFC Championship tease.

The ad opens with the rhetorical yet probing question: What is it about this game that makes us care so much? As Musicbed composer Blake Ewing’s “Across the Sea” begins to swell, we’re carried through cinematic moments of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, with all eyes fixated on the glowing screen. It’s emotional, nostalgic, and instantly relatable.

We root for different teams, but the ad’s message bonds us together with our sense of childhood wonder. As the score builds, we see cinematic footage of Bengals QB Joe Burrow and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes grow from childhood rookies to NFL superstars. Despite our teams and rivals, there’s only one answer to the ad’s opening question: We care so much because we’ve witnessed the magic of maintaining youthful fearlessness, and we can’t look away. 

We’re expecting plenty of amazing ads Sunday, so stay tuned—we’ll share more of our favorites after the game.