SBD/March 16, 2011/Franchises

Mariners Launch Latest Lighthearted Promo Campaign Featuring Players, Manager

The Mariners today will break TV spots tied to the upcoming season, again using "comedy to depict the strengths and characters of the team's most likable players, regardless of overall record," according to Geoff Baker of the SEATTLE TIMES. The centerpiece of the "Ready to Play" campaign, via Copacino + Fujikado, Seattle, is a spot featuring P Felix Hernandez and manager Eric Wedge. The premise of the commercial, entitled "Encore, Encore," is that Hernandez, having pitched the night before, "tries to fool the coaching staff and get in a game again by donning a 1970's-style wig and sideburns and calling himself 'Larry Bernandez.'" In another ad, RF Ichiro Suzuki is challenged by 1B Justin Smoak and 3B Chone Figgins to "hit anything they throw at him -- which they do and he does, including a good swat on a Tic Tac mint." Baker notes the Mariners have been "forced to absorb some blows in marketing a team that lost 101 games last season after telling fans to 'Believe Big.'" The creators of that "catchy-yet-ill-fated slogan are trying to win back fans." Mariners VP/Marketing Kevin Martinez: "Did we go out on a limb last year? Absolutely. Sure, we did. ... I believed in the team and I really thought 2010 was going to be our year. So, I went with it. And it blew up in our face" (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/16). In Seattle, Gerry Spratt noted a promo featuring CF Franklin Gutierrez features sportswriter Greg Johns "tripping over his feet as he tries to field a fly ball" (SEATTLEPI.com, 3/15). MLB.com's Rich Zuckerman noted all of the ads were filmed at the Mariners' Spring Training complex in Peoria, Ariz., and "will run throughout the season on local and regional broadcast and cable channels" (MLB.com, 3/15). Watch the team's series of new spots.

TAKING FLIGHT: The Cardinals are debuting a line of TV spots this week that introduce the team's new "We Are Cardinal Nation" marketing theme. The seven new TV spots, via Waylon Ad, St. Louis, are airing on over-the-air and cable channels in St. Louis and feature players including 1B Albert Pujols, LF Matt Holliday and RF Lance Berkman, manager Tony La Russa and the debut of Baseball HOFer Red Schoendienst. The spots were filmed in February at the team's Spring Training facilities in Jupiter, Fla. (Cardinals).
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