A’s Get Tough Grades

Off the Field Skills Are Lacking in FCB Ads
SAN FRANCISCO–For sports junkies wondering just what highly paid jocks can do away from the game, a new ad campaign may offer some answers.
The sports marketing group at FCB Worldwide, San Francisco, has stepped up to the plate and created its second season-long campaign for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball. Billings are $3 million.
Last season’s six TV ads featured vignettes introducing the young team’s players. (One had Oakland mayor Jerry Brown teaching Eric Chavez how to campaign.) This year’s half-dozen, now airing, explore whether the guys can act, sing, tell jokes or play classical music.
In each case, the answer is a resounding no. In one ad, a mini-orchestra of players tries a song, with painful results. “They can’t make music,” reads onscreen text. “But they can play.”
Other ads show players failing miserably at acting and standup comedy. The spots wrap with the “Generation A’s” theme begun last year.
“I wanted them to give the team some personality so you feel like you could come and hug them,” said David Alioto, vp of sales and marketing for the A’s.
Agency officials said the players were so excited about appearing in the ads that many flew in on their own time to participate.
Team officials say the club has received phone calls from other teams looking to market their athletes with similar kinds of human-touch vignettes. K