SBD/August 10, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

ESPN To Debut New Multimedia Ad Campaign For "Monday Night Football"

A new "MNF" spot featuring Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones debuts next week
ESPN on Monday will "introduce a new multimedia advertising campaign for its marquee program, 'Monday Night Football,'" according to Jane Levere of the N.Y. TIMES. Created by Wieden & Kennedy, N.Y., the campaign features Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and players such as Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, Texans RB Arian Foster, Jets CB Darrelle Revis and Lions QB Matthew Stafford. All are used, in "humorous fashion, to illustrate the campaign's tagline, 'It all comes down to Monday night.'" "MNF" was promoted with the "Is it Monday yet?" tagline for the past six years. One factor behind the new message "could be the falloff in ratings" last year. Viewership for the program "dropped almost" 10% in '11 to an "average of 13.3 million viewers, after record viewership" of 14.7 million in '10 and 14.4 million in '09. ESPN Senior VP/Marketing Carol Kruse said, "All of our ad campaigns are designed to drive interest and viewership. We had an inordinate amount of lopsided games last year, but we feel on paper that we have a stronger schedule for this year." With the new ads, Kruse said ESPN is changing its focus to "what's unique and ownable about 'Monday Night Football.'" He said, "We're focusing more on the football, the impact of 'Monday Night Football' on fans, standings, fantasy football, the sport all over." Levere notes one spot shows Jones "sitting in his private suite in Cowboys Stadium using a remote to watch 'Monday Night Football' on the stadium's mammoth video screen." Other spots show Stafford "expecting to be named player of the week until he is outplayed on 'Monday Night Football,' and a fantasy football player who is unexpectedly defeated after a 'Monday Night Football' game." Spots will begin running across all ESPN channels and digital media on Monday. Ads will then start to run on Aug. 27 on other websites, "including SI.com as well as on bus shelters, sides of buses, commuter rail cards and billboards" in N.Y., L.A., Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas (N.Y. TIMES, 8/10).
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