SBD/July 15, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

ESPN, History Team Up On SportsCenter Spot, Featuring "American Pickers" Hosts

ESPN is "promoting the slick new presentation for 'SportsCenter'" with an ad in which the show's old set "gets 'picked' by the antique hunters on History Channel's 'American Pickers,'" according to Max Willens of AD AGE. The spot, which was created by ESPN's in-house creative agency CreativeWorks, "opens with ESPN host Scott Van Pelt helping 'American Pickers' hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz lift and shove the old 'SportsCenter' desk into the American Pickers van." The campaign began airing yesterday, "with 15- and 30-second versions running on ESPN and History, and a longer version running online." CreativeWorks "first worked with History Channel in February, when the network was promoting the second season of its series 'Vikings.'" After the campaign, showing ESPN host Kenny Mayne hanging out with a "Vikings" character known as the Seer, the companies "began talking about a deeper partnership." Though "American Pickers" was "not scheduled as a topic of conversation, a member of the ESPN team suggested it might be funny to have the 'Pickers' hosts come and get the old 'SportsCenter' desk as a collectible" (, 7/14).

MASTER OF PUPPETS: ROLLING STONE's Kory Grow noted Metallica is featured in a spot for "SportsCenter" that aired during last night's MLB Home Run Derby. The commercial "plays off the idea" that since former MLBer Mariano Rivera retired at the end of last season the band does not "know what to do with themselves" now that he no longer comes into games to their song, "Enter Sandman." As a result, they have "started coming up with their own ideas." Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said, "ESPN's commercials have a tendency to be hilarious. We were like, 'That sounds like a good time.'" The band "filmed a variety of situations for the 30-second spot, all of which the drummer says were funny but he won't divulge the setups in case they're used for future commercials." Ulrich: "All these anchors and sports personalities are just so incredibly good at the deadpan element. It's just really fun to be around that environment, because there's a high degree of impulsivity and they don't take themselves very seriously" (, 7/14).
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