Outdoor Life Network Selects Taxi For Major Rebranding Campaign

Network's New Name, Versus, Will Debut Just in Time for NHL Hockey Season

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Outdoor Life Network -- oft called OLN and soon to be known as Versus -- has selected Taxi, New York, to handle creative and media planning on a major rebranding campaign this fall as the network makes the change to its new moniker.
With professional hockey games as its new main focus, Comcast's OLN network, previously known for outdoor life programming, rebrands itself as Versus.
With professional hockey games as its new main focus, Comcast's OLN network, previously known for outdoor life programming, rebrands itself as Versus.

The name change is set to debut Sept. 25, just before the National Hockey League season kicks off Oct. 4. Last year was the first year OLN, which is owned by Comcast, broadcast NHL games, which it secured in 2005 as part of a two-year, $135 million deal.

Bill Bergofin, the network's new senior VP-marketing, led the selection process even though the request for proposals was initiated before he started on July 5. He did not disclose the other agencies involved in the pitch.

'Boutique agency'
"They're a boutique agency, and we're a smaller, kind of boutique sports network," said Mr. Bergofin, a former Fox Sports and NFL marketer who came to OLN from agency SS&K. Taxi also was selected based on the work it has done with Nike and hockey in Canada, he said, citing the agency's strength of using nontraditional media to help "a brand with maybe not largest budget try to compete for share of voice."

OLN has not had an agency of record since it split with McCann Erickson a few years ago, working instead with a variety of agencies on a project basis, Mr. Bergofin said. Last year's campaign around the NHL property was handled by Fort Franklin.

OLN is expected to spend $7 million to $9 million in the fourth quarter on the rebranding campaign. Hockey will be the main focal point, but OLN also will promote its Professional Bull Riding competitions and hunting and fishing programming. Media buying remains with StarLink.

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Matthew Creamer contributed to this report.
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