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"You Could Use Some Baseball" – Inside an Ad Campaign PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 12 August 2007 20:00

Rangers Billboard Ad

Let’s face it; you have loads of entertainment choices these days. Call it “Option Overload” or competing interests, but now, more than ever, the battle over whatever you want to call leisure time is at an all-time high. Television, radio, the Internet, gaming, as well as getting off the couch to do something away from the home are all battling for your attention.

To illustrate the change in entertainment lifestyle over the past 30+ years, a recent article in the NY Times detailing the television ratings for Barry Bonds’ record breaking 756 home run vs. Henry Aaron’s then record-breaking 715 home run showed the difference in the culture we now live in. The article showed that by an overwhelming margin, people tuned in to watch Aaron’s record breaking feat, compared to Bonds. As Richard Sandomir wrote, “That Aaron’s home run lured nearly 15 times more households than Bonds’s is partly explained by the difference in TV eras. Broadcast network programs don’t get anywhere near the ratings they did before the rise of cable, VCRs, DVDs and other technologies that offer viewing alternatives.”

With these changes in entertainment options, MLB teams are always looking to catch your eye with advertisements that will make you want to choose a day at the ballpark over all the other competing interests. That effort takes months of work by both the team and the ad agency that will eventually be selected. Thirty clubs will set about this effort year in and year out. Here’s a deeper look into one campaign that was launched this season.

(Select Read More to view the rest of this article, along with video clips of the Rangers' ad campaign)

Door Number 3 and the Texas Rangers

For the Texas Rangers, the work formulating a season's ad campaign starts immediately following the previous season. This season, they decided to go the non-traditional route with an eye towards doing something different and reaching a new audience, said Kelly Calvert the Rangers’ assistant Vice-President of Marketing.

“We have typically featured players in campaigns, but we felt it important to put fresh creative into the marketplace that would get the attention of both fans who see our messages often (during game broadcasts) and those who don't necessarily consider themselves baseball fans.”

To reach those goals, the Rangers hired Door Number 3, a full-service creative advertising, branding and media agency based in Austin, Texas, to come up with radio, television, and billboard advertisement. The challenge for them was to come up with a campaign that would stand out in a crowded marketplace, selling a team that’s in the rebuilding process, the summer heat and the Metroplex traffic.

Prentice Howe, Creative Director of Door Number 3 said that the Rangers were looking to bring people back to baseball, while adding a distinctive personality in their marketing. “To their credit, they then opened it up to an entirely new creative interpretation,” Prentice said.

Once they had direction from the Rangers, Door Number 3 set their account planning team off to examine the target audience. What they found was that people are less interested in gathering possessions and more interested in gathering genuine experiences, creating memories and collecting fodder for better stories. With that understanding, the creative team went after conceptualizing the campaign.

“We wanted to hit them with something refreshing and force a little self-introspection as to how they’re spending their free time,” Howe adds.

Jousting, Scented Candles, and Yodeling Penguins

What was the final result of the campaign? Something that sets about to tickle your funny bone. Something that will ask yourself if what you are doing is just a little bit off… a little bit boring… In other words, “You could use some baseball.”

That catch phrase became the theme for the campaign. The TV spots (view them at the links below) poke fun at the pitfalls of missing out on some bonding time at the ballpark. For example, “Candles” features a young couple in a store smelling candles and comparing scents until the man has a masculinity-check moment stared down by a father and son in Rangers gear at the end of the aisle.  “That (spot) came from a very personal place,” said Howe.  “I’ve been there with my wife having that very same moment when all of a sudden you realize it’s time to reassess your Saturday afternoon activities.  This campaign is a humorous, yet honest look at how people spend their time.  It pulls them back to the baseball experience with a friendly splash of cold water to the face.”

As the season draws closer to its end, the question is, has the campaign been a success? According to Door Number 3, the campaign has helped build a meaningful and sustainable brand identity for the Rangers. It has also built buzz and helped change the way people think about the baseball experience. Howe knew that Door Number 3 had been successful when he made a trip to the ballpark to take in a Rangers game.

“I purchased a glass of wine for a friend during 7th-inning stretch at a game against the Blue Jays. The woman at concessions handed me the wine, smiled and said, ‘You could use some baseball.’ That simple interaction told me that the entire Rangers organization had fully embraced the campaign. As a marketer, there’s no better feeling.”

Select from the images below to view each of the ads created for the Texas Rangers by Door Number 3 (QuickTime)

 Jousting  Scented Candles  Yodeling Penguins
              Jousting       Scented Candles     Yodeling Penguins

Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.



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