General Motors' Chevrolet and Fox Sports are going big -- really big -- for Major League Baseball's annual All-Star Game festivities.
The two advertisers are planning to launch extra-long commercials during ESPN's telecast of tonight's Home Run Derby and Fox's Tuesday broadcast of the 84th MLB All-Star Game.
As a new sponsor of the "Chevrolet Home Derby," Chevy will unveil a 3.5-minute spot for Silverado near the end of tonight's slugging competition. The ode to pickup drivers and their rock-solid values features the song "Strong" by Will Hoge. Chevy's creative agency Commonwealth, Detroit created the ad.
During tomorrow night's All-Star Game, Chevy will roll out two more commercials. One called "Her Horse" by Leo Burnett, Chicago, will be the first in series of spots exploring the journeys that men and women take in their Silverado trucks.
MLB All-Star week is a perfect platform for Silverado, said Tim Mahoney, Chevrolet's global chief marketing officer, in a statement. This is part of the company's planned rollout for the truck brand.
Meanwhile, Fox Sports will a unveil 90-second promo during Tuesday's All-Star game introducing viewers to the Fox Sports 1 national cable channel, which launches Aug. 17.
Set to the tune "Happy Days are Here Again," the spot features a long list of sports stars. Among them: Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens, former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson; U.S. Women's soccer star Alex Morgan; and reigning American League MVP Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers.
Fox Sports 1 is shaping up to be one of the most closely-watched TV stories of the year as it challenges ESPN. The 90-second spot celebrating the special moments only sports can provide will set the tone for how Fox Sports 1 wants to be seen by viewers and Madison Avenue, according to Fox Sports marketing chief Robert Gottlieb. Fox created the ad in-house.
The Midsummer Classic has lost its TV fastball from its glory days in the 1970's and 1980's. The National League's 8-0 rout in 2012 put viewers to sleep, drawing a record-low 6.8 TV rating. But the All-Star game's still one of the highest-rated, most-watched events in July/August during non-Olympic years.
MLB still "owns" the Monday/Tuesday summer nights when it stages the back-to-back events, said Andy Donchin, director of national broadcast for Carat. Given the number of advertisers planning new work this week, including GM, Fox and T-Mobile, it's still a creative showcase, he said.
"Beyond the rating, it's the live nature of the event, it's the engagement of the event, it's the local fan interest around the country," Mr. Donchin said. "No doubt about it: The ratings have come down. But I still think it stands out in its ability to launch a campaign and garner a lot of interest."
Due to mid-July timing, the Homerun Derby and All-Star Game don't face much TV competition, Mr. Donchin added. The NBA and NHL seasons are over. NFL training camps don't start until Wednesday when rookies are scheduled to report to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Plus, this year's New York setting in the media capital of the country induced more sponsors to splurge on marketing, according to MLB.
"The sponsorship activation this year is the most it's been in years," said Tim Brosnan, exec VP of business in a statement.
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