Being a “real cougar” takes hard work and something “in your heart,” BYU greats tell a live cougar in new commercial spots produced by BYU University Communications. The live cougar even finds out how it feels to be “Jimmered,” and responds with a disgusted shake of the head.

The new commercials were produced for BYU 2011 athletics broadcasts and will air on ESPN and other networks. The first two spots, and future installments in the Real Cougar series, are posted on BYU’s official Youtube channel (

The commercials, which air primarily during football broadcasts, feature past and present NFL greats Steve Young, Chad Lewis, Vai Sikahema, and Bryan Kehl, along with coach Bronco Mendenhall and Hall-of-fame coach LaVell Edwards. NBA rookie Jimmer Fredette and five-time All American cross country athlete Lacey Bleazard also spend some time chatting with the cougar.

The live cougar featured in the commercial is a trained motion picture animal whose permanent home is in Salinas, Calif., at the Vision Quest Ranch. The 18-month-old cougar is coincidentally named “Cosmo,” even though his trainers have no BYU affiliation. (The live Cosmo was named after a character in the movieMoonstruck, not BYU’s mascot.)

The Real Cougar commercials were produced, written and directed by Julie Walker in BYU’s University Communications office, with executive producer Carri Jenkins. The production team included: Brian Wilcox, photographer; Ben Unguren, visual effects/post production; Doug Stewart, visual effects/production; Wynn Hougaard and Sarah Butler, editors; Sam Cardon, composer. Additional production support was provided by the LDS Motion Picture studio, Mallory Everton, and Ryan McLean.