With One Historic Swing, Extra Media Exposure

Three Marketers Seen in Steady Replays of Barry Bonds' Record Home Run

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SAN DIEGO (AdAge.com) -- Sponsors may be staying away from San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, but his 756th home run that broke Hank Aaron's 33-year-old record gave a handful of marketers with signs in the outfield a shot at a perpetual marketing opportunity.
Barry Bonds' home run shot last night landed in the outfield seats near signs for Charles Schwab, Bank of America and Diamond Walnuts.
Barry Bonds' home run shot last night landed in the outfield seats near signs for Charles Schwab, Bank of America and Diamond Walnuts. Credit: AP

Mr. Bonds' homer into the right center field seats passed near signs in the outfield for Charles Schwab, Bank of America and Diamond Walnuts. The footage will become part of baseball history, to be replayed not only on tonight's newscasts but on highlight reels discussing the home-run chase and Mr. Bonds' legacy for months, if not years, to come.

Ad exec hoping for free publicity
Rob Schwartz, executive creative director, TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., the ad agency for Visa, was hoping the ball would make it to a Visa sign at AT&T Park, where the Giants play and where Mr. Bonds hit his dinger. Though MasterCard is one of Major League Baseball's prime corporate partners, Visa had a shot at capturing the moment with its "Life Takes Visa" sign. That, Mr. Schwartz said, "would truly have been priceless."

The exposure isn't exactly priceless, however. Steve Rosner, founder of 16W Marketing in Rutherford, N.J., said the normal cost of a sign in the outfield is between $500,000 and $750,000, and that the Giants most likely marked up the price at the beginning of the season, knowing that the historic home run would come soon.

Mr. Rosner said that in 1996, when young baseball fan Jeffrey Maier caught a playoff-game flyball hit by New York Yankees' Derek Jeter that resulted in a game-tying home run and an ultimate win for the Yankees, the footage and still photo -- with sponsor signs visible -- was worth $6 million in free publicity.

But Mr. Rosner said breaking the record won't persuade sponsors to sign on Mr. Bonds, who has been tainted by a steroids scandal. "Nobody is going to sponsor Barry Bonds," he said, "whether the allegations are true or not."
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