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December 22, 2014

ESPN turns to the soaps to sell fantasy baseball - VIDEO

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 6th 2008 8:54AM
ESPN Did you know that baseball players are big-time soap opera fans? It's true. All that time they spend hanging out in the clubhouse during the day, they have the soaps playing in the background. Not all, but a lot. That said, it'll be interesting to see if the same things that sell soaps -- the drama, the relationships, the never-ending stories -- work for ESPN in selling their Fantasy Baseball League. They're calling the series of commercials "Endless Drama."

I urge you to watch these hilarious new commercials for ESPN, using real soap actors, sets and production values, to get baseball fans to sign up to their league. There's no question that the commercials capture the spirit of a soap, sort of in that over-the-top way it was depicted in the movie Soapdish with Kevin Kline, Sally Field and Whoopi Goldberg. (Even the logos with the setting sun look the same!)

As a soap fan, I really like that they used One Life to Live sets, actor like Rebecca Budig and Cameron Mathison from All My Children, and even directed the spots like they do a daytime drama. Also, as a baseball fan, I love that New York Yankee catcher Jorge Posada played a bartender in one. In fact, Jorge's episode plays more like a telenovela than American soap, with all the Latin flavor, and that just makes it more fun. Watch the video for yourself.

The question posed by Slate about the commercials, though, is a good one. Will this campaign get people watching ESPN, primarily guys, into signing up for the ESPN Fantasy Baseball league? That's the point of the whole endeavor. I can't say because I'm not into fantasy baseball, but I can say as a soap watcher and fan, I love this campaign. I think their spoof of the daytime genre -- including telenovelas -- was superbly executed. If it doesn't sign up thousands of players, maybe it will get a few soap fans pausing on ESPN to sample what they're doing on the worldwide leader in sports. That's not such a bad thing, but it may not be exactly what executive creative director Roger Baldacci of Arnold Worldwide, the agency behind the spots, had in mine.

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BillS

If I remember correctly, a group of Brewers were on the Young and the Restless last year.

April 06 2008 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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