Rawle Murdy Associates has positioned the Charleston Battery soccer team as an explosive force.
"We kick ... cannonballs" is the tagline for two television spots in which soccer balls morph into round missiles and the music dominates.
The ads, in which the Charles-ton, S.C., shop defines pro soccer as "compelling action with a human appeal," break this week on broadcast and cable stations. The campaign also includes billboards and print in the Charleston Post & Courier, Vida Latina and The City Paper. Spending is undisclosed.
Agency president Bruce Murdy described the Charleston Battery as a step below Major League Soccer.
"The fans are vocal and excited soccer fans," he said. "We have a lot of British and Hispanic people in Charleston who understand soccer."
According to RMA creative director and copywriter Ann Tracey, Americans tend to experience soccer as a participatory rather than a spectator sport.
"We realized we needed to grow an awareness of the team itself rather than an interest in soccer," said Tracey.
In both spots, created by senior art director Keith Ireland, grainy, quick-cut images of Battery players kicking soccer balls switch from color to monochrome. The ads end with shots of legs kicking cannonballs.
"We kick ... cannonballs" plays to the city's fame as where the Civil War began.
Junior art director Brady Wag-ner created the soundtrack, which was developed at the same time as the visual elements.
"I whistled battle themes with rolling drums," said Wagner in describing the process. "Then I speeded an old jazz track to 120 beats per minute and laid it over a slower beat."
The result is a fast and tight soundtrack that speaks to soccer fans.
Said Wagner, "We wanted the battle music to bring a hard edge to this team."
Wagner and Ireland's original goal was to write a theme song that would roll into the commercial.
"It ended making the spot pop," said Wagner. "We're still working on chants to get the crowd going."