ESPN’s Bass Bite Back

BOSTON Competitive sports fishermen come face-to-fin with their worst nightmare—trash-talking bass with an axe to grind—in Fort Franklin’s campaign promoting the ESPN BassMaster Classic.

In one spot, a bass taunts Takahiro Omori, who is seen weight lifting to prepare for the event. “Better do a few more,” the bass says. “‘Cuz I’m breaking 25 pound lines.”

Another commercial finds Gerald Swindle aboard a plane, enjoying a cup of coffee sent to him “from a gentleman in first class.” The “gentleman” turns out to be a bass, who leers back at Swindle and asks, “Are you sure it’s coffee?”

The print component takes the form of scorecards comparing man and bass. One points out that while bass won’t strike at the same lure twice, man often drinks spoiled milk after smelling it. Another favors man, who “teaches his children how to fish,” while bass are known to “eat their children.” Man and bass are judged even, however, in an ad noting that both “Wander around with mouths open and food just goes in.”

The agency in Boston said it made an effort to craft ads that would appeal to a broad audience, not just fishing enthusiasts.

The competition is scheduled to be held in Pittsburgh from July 29-31. Fort Franklin has handled projects for ESPN for the past several years.