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Fantasy Sports Site Wants to Ditch Frat-Boy Image With Help From a New Agency

DraftKings ups media spend nearly sixfold

The site's current ads are "a little bit sophomoric," a source said.

Three years in, fantasy sports website DraftKings.com is getting serious about its advertising.

Out is the frat-boy wordplay of its current ads (as seen below) and in is a search for an agency that can raise the tone and stature of its advertising. Also, fresh from a category exclusive advertising deal with Disney's ESPN, DraftKings has told shops participating in the search that the brand will be supported by $200 million in media.

To paraphrase DraftKing's current ads, that's a "shipload of money." Ah, but that's just the kind of phrase you probably won't hear in DraftKings ads going forward. Why? Because that approach is "a little bit sophomoric, a little bit frat boyish," explained a source.

DraftKings competes head-to-head with FanDuel in the daily fantasy sports segment of the larger fantasy sports world, which has some 56.8 million active players in North America, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. About 20 percent of those players participate exclusively in daily fantasy sports, according to an Adweek feature story on the category.

DraftKings' search is in its final stages, with a handful of agencies scheduled to make presentations later this week at the company's headquarters in Boston. Sources identified the finalists as BBDO in New York, The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., Arnold in Boston, Wieden + Kennedy in New York and Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, Calif. (The agencies had no comment.) A selection is expected by the end of the month.

The winner will succeed Havas Edge, a direct-response shop.

The $200 million media figure represents a nearly six-fold increase from last year, when DraftKings spent more than $35 million in media, according to Kantar Media. And the 2014 figure itself was more than triple what DraftKings spent in 2013, which was around $10 million, Kantar estimated. Despite the rising media dollars, though, revenue on the account is estimated at just $3 million.

Here's a look at some recent DraftKings ads:

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