Angels Swinging for the Fences

With a nod to the past, the Anaheim Angels have launched a TV campaign touting, among other things, the return of the haloed “A” on their uniforms.

Four 30-second TV spots from The Ballpark Advertising Agency in Los Angeles introduce the tagline, “The halos are back.” Ads show the players in their new uniforms, which now have red, not blue, as the dominant color. The color pays homage to the late Gene Autry, who once owned the Angels and favored red.

“The big focus is tradition,” said agency principal and account director Andrew Shevin, noting that the shop was challenged by the Angels to create a theme that encapsulated the team’s heritage and emotion. “The spots really capture the lighter side of the game by showing players as grown men playing a boys’ sport.”

The ads showcase the team’s marquee players. In one, Troy Glaus and Tim Salmon show a little boy how to hit a ball off a tee. Another execution has Darin Erstad taking off his uniform in a laundromat so he can wash it between games of a doubleheader. A third ad has Bengie Molina and Benji Gil showing children how to break open a piñata with a strong swing.

The ads also introduce some new players, including pitchers Aaron Sele and Kevin Appier. In one spot, manager Mike Scioscia is playing poker. He boasts that he has five aces, and the starting rotation is shown standing behind him.

“It’s a key selling point for us with season ticket holders,” said Anaheim Sports director of marketing Robert Alvarado. “We have good news to preach this year.”

For the first time in its 42 years of existence, the franchise is also putting “significant resources” behind a Spanish-language campaign, Alvarado said. The piñata spot has been adapted for the Hispanic market, and a spot showing a Hispanic family at a game is in the works.

Alvarado said the Angels will spend more than $1 million on ads this season through a combination of cash and trade. The media buy was handled by Starcom in Chicago.

“We’re banking that this will build awareness and impact, and hopefully begin to build interest,” said Alva rado. He added that the Angels, who were 12 games under .500 last year, had attendance that was in the “middle of the pack” among Major League Baseball teams.

The Ballpark got the assignment after creating ads for Anaheim’s pro hockey team, the Mighty Ducks.