SBD/March 25, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Youth Movement: MLB's "I Play" Campaign Focuses On Game's Young Stars

MLB on Friday launched a new campaign titled "I Play" to coincide with Opening Day. The campaign, created by Hill Holliday, showcases the league's young stars. Spots began airing last weekend on ESPN and MLB Network, and will also air on Fox and TBS throughout the season, along with digital and social media extensions on MLB.com and MLBFanCave.com (MLB). In N.Y., Stuart Elliot noted the campaign's Opening Day spot features players such as Angels LF Mike Trout, 21; Nationals CF Bryce Harper, 20; Giants C Buster Posey, 25; Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen, 26; and Rays P David Price, 27. The players in the ad who are "the oldest -- a relative term -- are each 30," including Yankees 2B Robinson Cano, Tigers P Justin Verlander and Mets 3B David Wright. The ad presents each player "declaring what he will play for" when the '13 season begins. Harper in the ad says, “I play for nine guys playing as one.” Trout: “For the history to be written.” Elliott wrote viewers "will notice that the spot takes a serious, earnest tone rather than the lighthearted tack that Major League Baseball sometimes uses in its promotional efforts." Hill Holliday President Karen Kaplan said MLB execs “challenged us to give the work a different feel and a different energy." Elliott noted there will be "subsequent commercials that are focused on the young stars one at a time," including Harper and McCutchen. There also will be "spots in Spanish with Spanish-speaking players" like Cano. MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan said younger fans "identify with superstars" and players “who are more like them.” Brosnan added the current group of young players are arguably "the brightest, largest crop of superstars we’ve had in a long time" (NYTIMES.com, 3/22).
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