:23: It’s Time for Dodger Baseball

Sports announcers like the famous Vin Scully do not come around very often, which is an absolute shame because Scully is one of the best in the business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would agree with most people in that watching baseball can be a bit boring, but my view completely changes when watching a Dodger game and listening to Vin Scully. This is because he does his research and is able to tell stories in fascinating ways. Scully will have information about the Dodgers as well as about each player of the opposing team, used only when that player makes an appearance in a 3- or 4-game series.

Scully has been with the Dodgers organization even before they moved to Los Angeles in 1958. Even after he announced that he would retire in 2009, he came back in 2010, in 2011 and will be returning for his 63rd season this year. Indeed, the day Vin Scully retires for good will be a sad day in Dodgertown, but since he is 84, I’m sure baseball fans everywhere will understand.

I am eternally grateful for having grown up in at least part of the Vin Scully era. He has been an incredible influence on me in my childhood as well as today as I continue to study journalism.

:15: Totally (L)inappropriate

Linsanity has taken over New York City and is rapidly sweeping the globe. At the start of the season, Jeremy Lin was just another guard sitting on the bench.

Finally getting his chance to prove himself against the Nets, Lin posted 25 points and 7 assists in 36 minutes. While some thought it was a fluke, Lin repeatedly scored in double digits while the franchise player, Carmelo Anthony, was out with an injury.

As thousands of people began brainstorming various puns on the young phenom’s last name, an unfortunate headline was released under the name of Anthony Federico, a former editor for ESPN:

Naturally, this created quite a stir in the online community and ultimately resulted in Federico’s termination. While some people gave ESPN the benefit of the doubt, there were many more that did not.

Personally, I can’t imagine someone intentionally risking their reputation by publishing this headline with a hurtful purpose, especially after reading this apologetic statement from Federico himself.

He wrote an apology to Lin and to many others who were offended and expressed that, “Actions speak louder than words. My words may have hurt people in that moment but my actions have always helped people. If those who vilify me would take a deeper look at my life they would see that I am the exact opposite of how some are portraying me.”

It is apparent to me that Federico never meant to run such a headline and is truly embarrassed for having done so. The bad news is that he lost a lot of respect from a lot of people, not to mention his position at ESPN. On the bright side, he did what had to be done to fix the situation and he’s moved on to a new job.

All I can think of to learn from this incident is that even the pros make mistakes. This guy was an editor for ESPN, a.k.a. the heaven for all sports writers and editors, and he missed a mistake that most people probably think is pretty obvious. Realistically, after reading thousands upon thousands of words every day for a few years, I’m sure it’s impossible to be perfect. I constantly find grammatical errors on everything but when a mistake as controversial as this leaks out, it truly is just as unfortunate for the public as it is for the writer/editor and company.

:9: A Decade in Sports

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This video is already a couple years old and it still gives me chills. There is no doubt that ESPN is on top of the world of sports, but it’s always nice to see them as fans too. If I ever get the chance to work for them, this is the kind of stuff I’d like to be doing.

:8: The Fantasizing Consumer

I’m sure that by now, most people have heard of fantasy sports, but I bet the story of how it came to be is not so well-known.

It started before computers were around, let alone the internet where fantasy sports really took off. Avid baseball fans would pick players from any real team to be on their own fantasy team and follow the stats of those players intensely from the box scores of the morning paper.

A few men are credited with inventing this game, but none of them received any sort of cash value. Fantasy baseball was just a game, a hobby, something to do and get good at. None of them thought to make any money out of it, which is unfortunate because now ESPN, Yahoo!, and many other sites attract a great deal of traffic thanks to fantasy sports. In fact, ESPN was so bold as to make a documentary about it.

After a few years of playing fantasy baseball, I have to say my interest and knowledge has greatly increased, which I’m sure can be said for most fantasy participants around the world.

While I prepare for each season as if it were my own religion, I still have to admit that a big chunk of fantasy sports comes down to, for lack of a better term, luck. But that is precisely why I believe it is so popular. If your league has a buy-in and cash prizes, it’s essentially a loophole to gambling.

This, of course, got me to thinking of whether this sort of thing could be brought into another fantasy world: advertising. Then I remembered Papa John’s recent Super Bowl campaign, where customers who signed up for Papa John’s Papa Rewards got to vote on whether the Super Bowl coin flip would land on heads or tails.  60% correctly voted for heads, so those who voted will be getting a free large one-topping pizza and a 2-liter Pepsi MAX.

This campaign is absolutely brilliant. It pleased a ton of customers and made all potential customers jealous of those who went online and voted. While gambling is a dangerous habit, it’s still something that people love to do. I think Papa John’s just opened the door for a whole new kind of advertising.

Sure, there have been a great deal of campaigns that give rewards to the random customer that bought the soda with the right cap on it, but that’s more like the lottery than getting a choice of heads or tails.

With the Papa John’s campaign, the customer feels like they played a significant part in winning themselves a free pizza and soda when they really didn’t do anything significant at all.

Meanwhile, by staying away from directly betting on sports, Papa John’s was able to elevate their sports-loving brand persona in the minds of millions of people.

:3: Super Ads for the Super Bowl

Once again the Super Bowl is upon us, this time featuring a rematch of the nail-biting 17-14 victory of the New York Giants over the then-perfect New England Patriots back in 2008.  It’s Boston vs. New York. Brady vs. (Eli) Manning. What could be better?

Well, the ads, of course.

While many of us consumers focus our calendars around birthdays, holidays or the first day of summer, advertising agencies revolve around Super Bowl Sunday.

It’s the one day of the year when agencies can be absolutely certain that record-breaking numbers of money-holding consumers, regardless of whether they like or understand football, will be huddled around the television.

As a sports fan, I hope the game is a good one. But as an Ad major, I’m hoping for some inspiring ads.

That being said, here are some of the funniest of all time:

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And here is the price progression of a 30-second Super Bowl ad.

Since the advertising game is always changing, it will be interesting to see what sort of approaches we see from those willing to spend $3.5 mil. and up for 30-60 seconds of your time.

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