Over the next five months, the network's TV spots will be centered on the mishaps of an 89-year-old ex-baseball player who decides to return to the profession. The debut ad, which broke last night, shows the man in the outfield, getting hit by the ball as he tries to catch a pop fly.
The campaign promotes Fox's upcoming coverage of the "Saturday Baseball Game of the Week," which begins June 5.
The other TV spots follow suit. In one, the elderly gent unsuccessfully tries his hand at pitching. After lobbing a massive gob of spit onto a baseball, he weakly throws the ball a mere couple of feet. In another, the man is pummeled by a large player trying to run home.
The ads, created by Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York, were shot during spring training for the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fox Senior VP-Marketing Neal Tiles said the network took the tack to gain the attention of the 18-to-34-year-old viewer.
With a slew of sports programming -- and a variety of other media, such as the Internet -- vying for young men's attention, stand-out creative is an absolute must, Mr. Tiles said.
"Things that are gross are funny to them," he said. "It's critical for us to develop work that is very much in line with that target group of young males."
The spots will run on the Fox broadcast network and Fox's 24-hour sports cable channel. The majority of airtime will be on Thursday and Friday nights, when Fox airs male-oriented shows such as "World's Wildest Police Chases," and "Guinness World Records."
The spots are the latest in a long line of politically incorrect ads from Freeman. When Fox debuted a campaign six months ago for Fox Sports Online, it also used the elderly as its source of humor.
In one commercial, a man struggles to get his medicine from a kitchen cabinet as he's being ignored by his Web-cruising, able-bodied caretaker.
"The things that are normally sacred are up for grabs with the younger male audience," said Mr. Tiles.
"It doesn't even matter if the spots are good or bad, they just have to be different," said Erik Silver, the agency creative director overseeing much of the Fox work and a former writer for the "David Letterman Show." "We have to hit