San Francisco—Coming off last year's record-setting 116-win season, the Seattle Mariners are launching a heavy-hitting ad campaign for 2002.
Seven new TV commercials for the Major League Base ball club from local shop Copacino are currently running in five Western states. They con tinue the Mari ners six-year tradition of featuring popular players in surprising roles.
In one spot—reminiscent of Wieden + Kennedy's famous Nike ad with Tiger Woods—Ichiro Suzuki, last season's rookie sensation, is seen on an empty field, casually bouncing a ball on his bat. After the 12th bounce, he swings and hits a high fly to the outfield. As the ball soars through the air, Ichiro sprints to right field and effortlessly catches it behind his back.
In another ad, a team that's meant to be the 1906 Chicago Cubs—the only other team to win 116 games in a season—challenges the Mari ners. The old-timers step onto the field in vintage uniforms, including small mitts. Though the Mariners beat them handily, one bitter old Cub manages to pop a Mariner below the belt as the teams line up to give high fives.
All seven ads will run throughout the baseball season. Spending on the campaign is estimated at $2 million.
To film the spots, Copacino's creative team traveled to Mariners training camp in Peoria, Ariz. "We did seven commercials in three days," said creative director Jim Copacino, who has worked with the Mariners since 1990. The team followed him from Livingston + Co. to McCann-Erickson, both in Seattle, and then stuck with him when he opened his own shop in 1998. "Over the years, these commercials have gained a lot of regional attention and popularity," Copacino said.
Gregg Greene, director of advertising and promotions for the Mariners, agreed. "Our fans have started to look forward to these ads coming out every year," he said. Local TV stations even went to Arizona to cover the filming of the spots, and local newspapers often write about their premieres, he said.
Greene said it isn't just the fans who get excited. "Our players look forward to participating in them every year, too," he said.