October's oafs

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William Shakespeare warned of the ides of March and T.S. Eliot thought April was the cruelest month. But October has its own set of problems, according to a humorous set of new TV commercials for Fox Sports.

"Beware of Things Made in October" is the tagline of 30-second spots promoting Fox Sports' broadcasts of Major League Baseball playoffs. The three commercials break late next month as the regular season and divisional races wind to a close. The central theme in each spot from Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco, revolves around the travails of a consumer whose product goes awry because the maker was absorbed in baseball's playoffs.

In "Nail Gun," a man tries to use a nail gun and nothing happens. He sets it down on his workbench, where it then proceeds to spray nails all over his garage and out into the street, sending people diving for cover. Cut to a worker at a plant, whose attention is diverted by watching the New York Yankees' Charlie Hayes catch the final out of the 1996 World Series.

Another spot, "Leaf Blower," finds a man strapping on the product in a store. The leaf blower turns into a flame-thrower, igniting displays and causing fires in the store. Cut to the maker of the leaf blower, who is busy watching Kirk Gibson of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit a ninth-inning home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series to beat the Oakland Athletics.

A third spot shows similarly disastrous events surrounding a family boating trip.

Although News Corp.'s Fox Sports remains a client of Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York-which won the prestigious Grand Prix for TV for a Fox Sports Net campaign at this year's International Advertising Festival in Cannes-the network occasionally farms out some advertising for specific events, such as baseball's playoffs.

"Cliff Freeman is our agency and will continue to be our agency," said Dan Bell, Fox Sports director of communications. "But with the addition of [regional cable channels] Fox Sports Net, they can't handle everything. We've used other people in the past and will continue to do so, but we're happy with Cliff Freeman."

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