ESPN has teamed up with longtime agency partner Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP) for a new campaign to entice fantasy football players to sign up for its upcoming season.
This is the first direct collaboration between BSPP and the brand in the continuity of a partnership started in 2019.
“ESPN has always been good at using humor to draw people to their brand. It’s part of who they are as a brand. They don’t take themselves too seriously,” said Leslie North, evp, head of strategy at Swift “However, they know that sport is serious but should also be fun and entertaining.”
ESPN’s three-part comedy vignette series focuses on how fantasy football plays an important role in everyday life and how it affects real-world relationships.
“It’s an important part of our business. We know that these fans are very precious to us. And there are some of our most passionate fans,” said Seth Ader, vice president of brand marketing at ESPN. cut here
As part of the campaign, the spots will run on linear and online video as well as various types of media, including radio, podcasts, digital ads and outdoor advertising. In the coming weeks, additional spots will be aired as part of the campaign.
This campaign was inspired by a connection and a sense of community, and what fantasy football does for people. “I think some of our early ideas were more specific about the kind of people who come together to play it. So more about bringing in different people and groups of friends and strangers and like unlikely couples and all that kind of stuff,” said Robyn Tenenbaum, Creative Director at BSSP.
It’s unclear how much of ESPN’s advertising budget is allocated to video spots and social media advertising, as Ader wouldn’t share overall budget details. According to Pathmatics, ESPN has spent nearly $45 million so far in 2022 on advertising efforts. Ader noted that ad spend for those spots was for linear TV, online video, radio podcasts and out-of-home digital displays. Additionally, the spots will air during ESPN programming.
Throughout the campaign, fantasy league issues are overshadowed by day-to-day issues, as the campaign emphasizes the possibility of unlikely relationships. For this reason, the BSSP has intentionally incorporated unlikely situations, such as a couple arguing over fantasy football disagreements in therapy over what they should name their married couple, and a colleague referring to their partner by the name of the couple. fantastic team they call each other. in fantasy football, which could only happen in fantasy football.
“Brands need to listen to the communities and conversations around them in order to maintain relevance, but also to break through and resonate with their audiences,” North said. “Consumers expect more than advertising from brands and if that value is entertainment and humor.”
The brand tries to show what makes the game so special, after its record-breaking season in 2021, and is highlighting the things that make the game so unique: the sense of community, camaraderie and the constants that only exist in fantasy football. “As a priority, we want to bring back as many people as possible who have played in the last year in the game,” Ader said, because the retention strategy is to keep those fans, whether they call them directors or commissioners. of the league.
Tenenbaum concluded, “I feel like this is going to bring in a lot of other types of players and fans that maybe hadn’t considered playing before. But now that they see the countryside, it’s a place for anyone who doesn’t need to know everything about football, to be part of the world.