SBJ/September 4 - 10, 2006/This Weeks News

ESPN has Monday on its mind

Mock-ups of out of-home spots for “Monday Night
Football” on ESPN,which will hit seven markets soon.
The second phase of ESPN’s “Is It Monday Yet?” campaign is set to hit Wednesday, with national ad buys in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today.

The three papers will carry the first week of the campaign, which will feature a different message each day relating to ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” which launches Sept. 11.

“We’re trying to build momentum leading into the first game,” said Aaron Taylor, ESPN’s vice president of sports marketing. “We’re trying to establish the fact that ‘Monday Night Football’ is something that is a ritual to football fans.”

ESPN is in its first year of carrying “Monday Night Football,” an institution on ABC since 1970, while also competing against NBC’s return to the NFL with its much-publicized “Sunday Night Football.”

Following the first week of ads, the Wieden & Kennedy campaign will focus on print, radio, online and out-of-home spots in seven markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas and San Francisco.

The out-of-home messages, planned for subways, bus shelters, commuter cards and even pizza boxes, will not be day-specific.

Network executives would not say how much they were spending on this campaign.

The campaign views each day of the week in the context of “Monday Night Football.” Each spot ends with a countdown of the number of days until Monday night, with the tag line, “Is it Monday yet?”

TV spots will help NFL fans get to Monday.
The script will remain basically the same throughout the season.

Wednesday’s offering points out that teams’ injury reports are released. Thursday’s spot suggests that viewers update their fantasy rosters. Friday pays homage to former quarterbacks Joe Namath and Jim Kelly (Friday is the “fifth day of a 7-day week,” the campaign says, and 5+7=12, which are the numbers Namath and Kelly wore when they played). Saturday talks about college football. Sunday complains about weekend obligations, like laundry and yard work. Monday calls on viewers to “fire up the grill and oil up the recliner.”

The Tuesday message will change each week, with water cooler talk referencing the previous night’s game.

The campaign’s first phase launched Aug. 7 with the tag line “This Monday is one Monday closer to Monday Night Football.”

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