ESPN Gets Ready for Some Football

NEW YORK ESPN broke the first TV spot today in a new campaign for its Sunday NFL Countdownshow, now in its 18th season, the cable network said.

The campaign is in its fourth year and is designed to build momentum for the Sunday NFL show and ESPN’s broadcast of the games. For the past three years, the work has featured ESPN’s on-air announcers sitting around discussing football. The theme was “a little football amongst friends.”

This year, however, the campaign, again from independent Wieden + Kennedy in New York, is meant to depict “the rich pageant of football,” said Lee Ann Daly, ESPN’s senior vice-president of marketing. The client and agency came up with the idea of staging and filming an actual parade for the campaign.

The first spot features Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones on a float trying to “reel in” a giant, fake tuna – a reference to the nickname of the team’s coach Bill Parcells. The team of ESPN announcers on the float comment using lines like “Tuna’s been reeled in before, but never by a man in a Stetson,” referring to Jones. “That may be the most line that Jerry Jones gives Parcells all season long,” another announcer cracks.

The campaign will run through September, Daly said.