National Geographic Genius Bad Romance

National Geographic is running “Bad Romance”, a Super Bowl TV commercial promoting GENIUS, a television series focusing on the life of Albert Einstein. Einstein (Geoffrey Rush) appears in his study, tuning his violin. In a nod to Lady Gaga’s half-time show Einstein launches into a beautiful arrangement of her hit “Bad Romance”. Einstein plays the song with tremendous passion and emotion, exactly the way we imagine he would — while at the same time reflecting a sense of his tumultuous love life. The violin sings out harmoniously; there are moving rapid flashes of handwritten scientific equations symbolizing his rebellious, no-holds-barred approach to science. Einstein then abruptly stops, and as he sticks out his tongue, Einstein’s signature gesture, the National Geographic Genius ad reveals the series premiere date of Tuesday, April 25.

National Geographic Genius commercial - Albert Einstein with violin

The Genius series charts how Albert Einstein, an imaginative, rebellious patent clerk who struggled to land an academic post in his early years, went on to become the greatest scientific mind of the 20th century, all while juggling volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. Geoffrey Rush appears alongside Emily Watson (Elsa Einstein) and Johnny Flynn (the younger Einstein).

The song “Bad Romance” ­subtly teases Einstein’s little-known lothario ways. In fact, Einstein once said, “Lasting harmony with a woman [was] an undertaking in which I twice failed rather disgracefully.”

“We are excited to take this opportunity to promote our first-ever global scripted series, GENIUS, starring Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson during one of America’s most-watched television events,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Global Networks. “It’s a simple and engaging commercial that not only tapes into the zeitgeist of Lady Gaga’s highly anticipated Super Bowl halftime performance, but also perfectly represents the surprising side of Einstein the series captures. We hope it will cut through the noise, force viewers to take notice and give this broader audience a glimpse into the National Geographic brand of premium content.”

“We wanted to create a beautiful commercial that was true to the character of Albert Einstein,” said Eric Silver, Chief Creative Officer, North America, McCann. “We knew Einstein frequently played violin as a brainstorming technique. The timing of our placement immediately after Lady Gaga’s halftime performance felt like serendipity, giving us the perfect platform to bring the adored physicist to life in a memorable way.”

National Geographic Genius Credits

The National Geographic Genius Bad Romance commercial was developed at McCann New York by chief creative officer Eric Silver, co-chief creative officer Tom Murphy, senior art director Johan Leandersson, chief production officer Nathy Aviram, broadcast producer Danielle Korn, executive music producer Eric Johnson, global account director Rob Rawley, account director Jennifer Prieto, senior project manager Steven Marchione, account executive Patrick Glaser, assistant account executive Sarah McCollom, working with National Geographic Global Networks CEO Courteney Monroe, chief marketing officer Jill Cress, creative director Chris Spencer, global creative director Andy Baker, global communications and talent relations executive VP Chris Albert, head of global scripted development and production Carolyn Bernstein, strategy and consumer marketing executive VP Dennis Camlek.

Filming was shot by director Ivan Zacharias via Smuggler with executive producers Patrick Milling Smith, Brian Carmody and Allison Kunzman, head of production Andrew Colon, and producer Nick Landon.

Editor was Filip Malásek at Robota, Prague. Post production was done at UPP, Prague. Sound was produced at Soundsquare, Prague.

Music was superved at JSM Music, arranged and performed by Oli Langford.