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MLB SET TO LAUNCH MARKETING CAMPAIGN THIS WEEK
Published April 18, 1995
MLB heard pitches last week from ad agencies looking to create its "return of baseball" campaign, according to the current issue of AD AGE. At least three agencies are bidding, including Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco. A "Let's Play Ball" theme was developed by Partners & Shevack during the replacement spring training (ADVERTISING AGE, 4/17 issue). Sources tell THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY that MLB will announce its new marketing campaign on Wednesday, but that the campaign's theme will not be "Let's Play Ball" (THE DAILY). AROUND THE LEAGUE: The Marlins launch a new TV ad campaign April 21. The new 15- and 30-second ads feature comic Gary Valentine playing a fan in a Marlins uniform, who, in an empty stadium, plays out different fantasies -- from being a play-by- play announcer to a player who catches a ball against the foul wall. The tagline: "You Gotta Be There. Marlins" (Alina Matas, MIAMI HERALD, 4/17). "Entertainment Tonight" examined the push to win back baseball fans. Media analyst Paul Schulman, on wary fans: "If their team wins two in a row they're going to be excited and they'll be right back there." Clips of the Marlins spot and a Twins ad featuring manager Tom Kelly getting some psychotherapy were shown ("ET," 4/16). WORRIES? TBS ran a special last night entitled "Baseball's Back," with a segment on the business aspect. Timothy Mueller, sports consultant at KPMG Peat Marwick: "We're still faced with a situation where we don't have a contract, we don't have a new economic environment." Brandon Steiner, Steiner Sports Marketing: "Corporate America doesn't wait around. They find other avenues and they go different directions and they have. You will not see corporate America back this summer and maybe not even through the season." Former MLBP President Richard White: "The concern we had with baseball when I was there, and one that continues, is that baseball's audience is aging. It's not an attractive audience for advertisers for people who deal with consumers at large. It is by and large, an audience that's 35+ and that has the entire industry greatly concerned." ABC's Al Michaels called MLB's $1B CBS deal "a blessing and a curse. It brought baseball a lot of money for a particular period of time and then all of a sudden everybody took a look at the ratings and where baseball was and that money wasn't there any more" (TBS, 4/17).