The Ballpark Tries a Slap Shot

They may not have a winning record, but the Anaheim Mighty Ducks say they are, at least, working mighty hard.

The NHL team’s work ethic is the focus of ads breaking this week from The Ballpark Advertising Agency. The new tag is “Answer the call.”

The key message is that the Mighty Ducks “are committed to building a playoff-contending organization in the short term and a perennial Stanley Cup playoff franchise,” said Andrew Shevin, principal at The Ballpark in Santa Monica, Calif. The Disney-owned franchise is not only asking Orange County residents to answer the call, but team members as well, Shevin said.

Plagued by injuries, the team won just 25 of its 82 games last year. But with a new head coach and beefed-up defense, it is poised to turn things around, said client director of marketing Robert Alvarado. “Everyone is in first place at the beginning of the season,” he said.

The team had handled creative in-house, but tapped The Ballpark in August to drive fan interest. “We’d been leaving it up to the news media to cover our team, and a lot of times it wasn’t favorable,” said Alvarado.

Shevin said the shop set out to “repackage the entire team identity” and offer a “credible affinity message to loyal and occasional hockey consumers.” The effort includes eight 30-second TV spots, as well as radio, print and out-of-home ads and collateral material.

Most of the ads focus on players. They include shots of Mike Leclerc lifting weights; Steve Rucchin, Jeff Friesen and Pavel Trnka doing wind sprints; and Paul Kariya bouncing a puck on his stick à la Tiger Woods. Ads aimed at the fringe fan show Mighty Ducks mascot Wildwing doing pull-ups and shooting cardboard cutouts of opposing team players with a T-shirt cannon.

Ads will run throughout the season. Spending could not be determined since many ads will run as a result of trades made with broadcast partners, Alvarado said.