March 9, 2012

MLB on ESPN 2012

As a baseball fan, I think that 162 is a sacred number. That’s the number of games each team plays in a Major League Baseball season. However, when you’re trying to create an online ad campaign to promote that staggering number of baseball games, each ad featuring a different matchup, the number of deliverables stacks up quickly, making keeping the campaign within budget no easy task. To solve this problem, we used a dynamic creative solution that allowed us to deliver a one-size-fits-all set of ads. ESPN could set the matchups, times and storyline of the day and our ads would automatically update on the fly. Using this method we were able to give ESPN the season-long scope they needed while keeping the project within budget.

Throwing The Change Up

In addition to being able to change the teams featured in the creative, the client was also able to change the ad’s narrative. The ad was able to accommodate four different themes: ‘Spring Training’, ‘Rivalry Game’, ‘Interleague Play’ and ‘Hunt for October’ (playoffs). The different themes switched out a featured custom logo sporting the theme’s name, as well as changing colors of various elements in the ad. The client could also upload an image and create a custom tag line to set the stage for the game, giving users context to the game and, hopefully, a reason to watch.

Handling the Curveballs

ESPN had the rights to broadcast select baseball games on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday nights. As such, they wanted to brand their broadcasts as “Monday Night Baseball,” “Wednesday Night Baseball,” and – shockingly – “Sunday Night Baseball.” This meant we had to have the ads adjust accordingly, switching out logos and their respective animations at the beginning of the ad. In addition to that, our ads had to accurately display which ESPN network the game was being shown on, the broadcast’s sponsor (if there were any on that particular night), and dynamically change the tune in depending on when the ads were being viewed (for example, the ad had to read “TONIGHT” if viewed on the day of the game as opposed to “TOMORROW” if viewed the day before). The devil was definitely in the details for this one, but the dynamic components of the ad ultimately made it an efficient and effective campaign.