Is it a “Wild Thing” or “Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood?”
Turner Sports’ creative team is working with Applebee’s to create television spots that will air during TBS’ Sunday Major League Baseball, beginning later this month.
As Kurt Hunzeker noted in his recent article here on The Biz of Baseball (read The New Mandatory: Integrating Sponsors Into the Game), these types of ads are yet another sign of sponsorship activation directly as part of the broadcast, thus blurring the line between games you watch, and the ads you see. As reported by Mediaweek:
The spots, devised by the Turner Sports creative team, will be shot at an Applebee’s location in Suwanee, Ga., just outside Atlanta. Unlike regular 30-second commercials, these units will contain specially themed content, featuring TBS MLB play-by-play announcer Chip Carey, former Major Leaguer Mitch Williams and a fan discussing and debating assorted baseball topics like who the best all-time MLB home run hitter is. The spots will make no mention of Applebee’s food but capture the interior décor of the location as the conversations are taking place.
Craig Barry, Turner Sports vp and creative director of the unit, said, “Applebee’s was looking for a way to integrate into our baseball coverage,” Barry said. “They wanted to make sure the integration was relevant to baseball but did not focus on their food. So we devised these spots where baseball personalities and fans go to Applebee’s to talk baseball. ”
Barry goes on to add that there will be 15 different spots that will be shot, and that each of them will run at the beginning of each TBS’ Sunday Major League Baseball for approx. 10 weeks.
The creative wing at Turner Sports isn’t new to this creative ad placement. As further reported, they worked last year with “TNT’s introduction of its Wide Open Coverage concept during the telecast of Nascar’s Pepsi 400.” In those instances, the ads were run on a portion of the screen while the race was still being aired, as opposed to going to a standard commercial break.