SBJ/February 12 - 18, 2007/Marketingsponsorship

Richmond firm picked to create ads for X Games

After months of pitches, ESPN has selected The Martin Agency as the new advertising agency of record for its X Games franchise.

The Richmond, Va., firm will be charged with designing advertisements for Summer and Winter X Games, as well as X Games consumer products. The firm is responsible for UPS’s “What Can Brown Do for You?” and Geico’s caveman campaign.

The Martin Agency will try to broaden X’s appeal.

The contract fits into an overall effort by ESPN to enhance the X Games franchise over the coming years. It coincides with an emphasis on adding new global events, developing a year-round online presence and expanding the X Games consumer products line.

“We realized we needed to think about this holistically,” said Katie Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at ESPN. “The Martin Agency brought a different way of looking at it — one that can play out over the years.”

The Martin Agency’s presentation focused on changing the perception of action sports participants and enthusiasts, believing they’ve become clichéd.

“A lot of people think of these guys as the typical kids who scream things like ‘rad’ and ‘awesome,’” said Rob Schapiro, senior vice president and creative director at The Martin Agency. “We realized a lot of them take what they do very seriously and their skateboard or snowboard was a tool for expression. If people understand that, it might legitimize X Games for a broader audience.”

The Martin Agency learned it had been awarded the contract, its first with ESPN, in late December. ESPN selected The Martin Agency ahead of five competitors, including Wieden & Kennedy and Ground Zero, which formerly worked on the X Games.

The first advertising campaign will begin this spring.

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