SBJ/June 6-12, 2011/Media

ESPN rolls out Women's World Cup promos

The 30-second television spots show footage of the U.S. women’s team practicing. They are the top-seeded team in the Women’s World Cup.
ESPN will break its Women’s World Cup marketing campaign today with a series of spots highlighting the U.S. team’s biggest stars.

Under the tag line “Eleven vs. the World,” ESPN’s initial campaign will run through June 22, just four days before the tournament starts. Afterward, ESPN’s World Cup messaging will revolve around tune-in campaigns for specific games.

Wieden & Kennedy, N.Y., developed the spots. ESPN would not disclose how much the campaigns cost, saying that they are similar in size and scope to the marketing campaigns around the NBA playoffs. In addition to the 30-second television spots, ESPN is planning a multiplatform effort with print and digital outlets.

“This campaign was designed to build awareness and create excitement,” said Aaron Taylor, vice president of marketing for ESPN. “We want to expose our fans to the No. 1 team in the world and show that they have great expectations and great challenges.”

The campaign aims to fill in the blanks between the 1999 World Cup winning team, best known for Brandi Chastain’s tournament-winning penalty kick, and this year’s group, which is entering the tournament as the top-seeded team. In fact, Chastain’s goal, and her ensuing midriff-baring celebration, is featured in all four 30-second spots viewed by SportsBusiness Journal.

The campaign will run through June 22, just four days before the start of the tournament.
“That was an iconic moment in American soccer, not just women’s soccer,” Taylor said.

The campaign’s first two spots feature a voice-over that says, “It’s been over a decade since the U.S. has won the World Cup.” Later in each commercial, the voice-over says, “Now this U.S. team is poised to change that story. Their plan is simple: Beat everyone.”

Both spots show footage of the U.S. team practicing. One voice-over talks about how the
U.S. has never won a World Cup in Europe.

The next two spots show goals from past World Cup games. One ends with the on-screen message: “Any team can. Only one will.” Another ends with the on-screen message: “History can’t predict the future. Eleven vs. the world.”

The campaign features the entire team, but highlights two U.S. players in particular: Abby Wambach and Hope Solo.
The campaign also hopes to educate viewers about other teams and other stars, including Brazil’s Marta and Germany’s Birgit Prinz.

ESPN plans to show all of the tournament’s 32 games live on ESPN and ESPN2. They also will be simulcast on ESPN3 and available online through ESPNnetworks.com and via mobile on the WatchESPN app.

All telecasts will have on-site commentators and pregame, postgame and halftime studio shows.

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