SBD/April 5, 2016/MLB Season Preview

A's Let Players Help Pen New Spots, While Mariners, Twins Continue Humorous Ads

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Comedy is a central theme in several new MLB team spots rolling out to start the '16 season. The A's stuck with with their successful seven-year-old effort, Green Collar Baseball, with creative help from S.F.-based Hub Strategy & Communication. New ads this season feature C Stephen Vogt and P Sean Doolittle, who both helped write some new spots. Vogt and Doolittle had a hand in penning "Unflinching Trust," in which players emphasize the importance of the pitcher-catcher relationship with a trust fall. The pair also helped create "Meetings, Meetings," set to roll out later this season. A's Senior Dir of Marketing Troy Smith, in explaining the rationale behind having players help write spots, cited a desire to show fans deeper insight into the players' personalities. Smith: "It helps players have ownership when they're involved. It's a really collaborative process." Hub Strategy Creative Dir & CEO D.J. O’Neil said of working with the A’s, "I hear stories of professional athletes who just don’t want to do these things, so when you get guys like Vogt and Doolittle who enjoy it, not only are they a pleasure to work with, but they are also team leaders. Everyone else on the team sees how much fun these guys are having." When O’Neil realized how natural Vogt and Doolittle were in front of the camera, he suggested the idea of the players writing some of their own spots. O’Neil: “Doolittle and Vogt are both so funny. ... I said to myself, 'I think I could brainstorm with these guys, show them a TV structure and have them help me write their commercials.'" Vogt said, “Our goal is to get people excited about A’s baseball, get them to laugh a little bit and get them intrigued to come out to the ballpark."

NORTHWEST PASSAGE: The Mariners this season again partnered with Seattle-based Copacino+Fujikado to create four new TV commercials that began airing March 16 and will run locally throughout the season. The ads, which have become a Mariners tradition dating all the way back to the days of Ken Griffey Jr., feature a light tone and incorporate several of the team's top players, including P Felix Hernandez, 2B Robinson Cano, RF Nelson Cruz and former-player-turned-hitting-coach Edgar Martinez. Mariners VP/Marketing Kevin Martinez said, “The ads are an effort to strengthen the bond between our fans and our players. ... It’s a peek behind the curtain. These ads have really become popular. We post them to our website every year and see a ton of traffic.” He added of the local response, “These spots have become a part of the fabric of the Seattle sports scene. ... It has become a Seattle tradition.”

SUMMER FUN: Selling single-game tickets was a big aim for the Twins new ad this season. The team worked with Minnesota filmmaker Dan Huiting and Minneapolis-based agency Periscope on a new spot featuring RF Miguel Sano, P Glen Perkins, 2B Brian Dozier and 1B Joe Mauer. In the ad, the players take a ride in a vintage Ford Fairlane convertible with mascot T.C. Bear with the caption, “Summertime is almost here.” Twins VP/Brand Marketing Nancy O’Brien said, “We’ve been really blessed to have players that are very engaged. They buy into the big picture." The Twins started working with Periscope in ’05.
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