The upstart Kansas City Royals are one of the great underdog stories in recent sports history, a fact further highlighted by the 7-1 pummeling the team received at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in Tuesday's Game 1 of the World Series.
While Royals fans were disappointed by the outcome of the night, their unflappable spirit was reflected by the evening's advertisers, especially the salute by Chevrolet and Spike DDB to another surprising figure who captured America’s imagination: Little League World Series pitcher Mo’ne Davis.
The 13-year-old was the first girl to throw a shutout in Little League World Series history. Director Spike Lee created a new 60-second commercial with Davis that broke during Fox Sports’ telecast of Game 1, the Royals' first postseason appearance in nearly 30 years.
The moving Chevy spot takes the form of an open letter from Davis (the first Little Leaguer to earn the cover of Sports Illustrated) to her fellow U.S. citizens. We see scenes of her pitching, hitting, playing basketball and hanging out with her family.
In a voiceover, Davis says she stands for all girls who want to play with the boys, and that she wants to be a role model and inspiration despite her young age.
“I throw 70 mph. That’s throwing like a girl. Sincerely, your daughter, Mo’ne Davis,” she says.
Chevy has also created a documentary featuring interviews with Davis and her family, plus her coaches and teammates:
The evening also featured work crafted for the World Series from MasterCard and McCann XBC, which premiered two new spots showing former Royals star George Brett and ex-New York Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera surprising cardholders at ballparks.
The Brett spot was filmed Monday at Kanas City’s Kauffman Stadium. The cardholders went nuts when the Royals Hall of Famer strolled into the suites where the cameras were rolling, said MasterCard’s Maripi Jalandoni. They also got a tour of the stadium where the Royals and Giants were practicing.
MasterCard and McCann XBC raced to get the Brett commercial ready for tonight’s game telecast. The spots also highlighted Apple Pay, which became available Monday for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers.
"As a marketer, I had to make sure we had a Plan A, Plan B and even a Plan Z," Jalandoni said. "There were many moving parts to this.”
So far, Fox is averaging around $500,000 per 30-second spot, said sources. Chevy sponsored Fox’s pregame and postgame shows, while Taco Bell sponsored the starting lineups.
If recent viewing habits are any guide, most viewers will be watching this year's series with a laptop, tablet or smartphone in hand. Roughly 89 percent of MLB fans use a computer or mobile device to supplement their TV viewing, according to Octagon’s Passion Shift study.