Turner Sports Creates Customized Applebee’s Spots

NEW YORK Turner Sports’ creative services unit on May 5 begins shooting new customized spots for Applebee’s that will run during TBS’ Sunday Major League Baseball games later in the month.

The spots, devised by the Turner Sports creative team, will be shot at an Applebee’s location in Suwanee, Ga., just outside Atlanta. Unlike regular 30-second commercials, these units will contain specially themed content, featuring TBS MLB play-by-play announcer Chip Carey, former Major Leaguer Mitch Williams and a fan discussing and debating assorted baseball topics like who the best all-time MLB home run hitter is. The spots will make no mention of Applebee’s food but capture the interior decor of the location as the conversations are taking place.

Craig Barry, Turner Sports vp, creative director at the unit, said, “Applebee’s was looking for a way to integrate into our baseball coverage. They wanted to make sure the integration was relevant to baseball but did not focus on their food. So we devised these spots where baseball personalities and fans go to Applebee’s to talk baseball. “

Barry said there would be more than 15 different spots shot that will run at the opening of each Sunday TBS MLB telecast beginning in late May and running about 10 weeks through the baseball season. The spots will be shot in two waves, with a second set produced later in the month.

This is the same Turner Sports creative unit that last summer, in conjunction with TNT’s introduction of its Wide Open Coverage concept during the telecast of Nascar’s Pepsi 400, produced a series of onscreen commercials exclusively for nine advertisers. Those units aired on a portion of the screen during the race, as opposed to the network leaving to go to traditional commercial breaks. Those spots were between 60 seconds and two minutes and were also not traditional product sales-type ads.

The Turner Sports creative services unit now numbers about 55 people, Barry said, and can work with any advertiser that wants a more integrated approach to their advertising on Turner televised sports properties. The unit also creates customized spots for online advertisers, and has created special spots used by Turner to promote its NBA and MLB post-season coverage.