New Campaigns

Client: Venator Group, New York
Agency: Publicis, New York
Creative Director: Tony DeGregorio
Associate Creative Director: Peter Hoffman
Copywriter: Christian Shepherd
Art Directors: Elias Kotsias, Matt Leoppizzi
Director: Nick Rafter Executive Producer: Barbara Gans Russo
The first of four new TV spots for Champs avoids the †ber-serious tone common in sports ads in favor of fun and camaraderie. “We’re moving sports away from the solitary, hard-core training, win-at-all-costs image its had over the last several years,” said Publicis creative director Tony DeGregorio. “For our target [16-24-year-olds], sports are fun, optimistic and social.” With hard rock music and rapid-fire images of amateur sports enthusiasts at play, the campaign goes after fun-seeking–and image-conscious–athletes. Through the mock window of the “Champs Cam,” viewers of the first ad, which touts the chain’s new Outdoor Urban Terrain clothing, join a wild in-line skate excursion. “Hit the great outdoors with the greatest outdoor stuff,” says a male voiceover as teens in bright, primary-colored fleece skate through urban and wooded terrains. The technique appealed to younger viewers, who “felt it was almost interactive,” said Ian Gomar, senior vice president of marketing for Champs. A soccer-themed commercial pushes the stores’ Adidas clothing, showing young men kicking a ball around on a field. “For the ultimate in soccer action, get the ultimate in soccer gear,” the voiceover says. A third spot, which focuses on Reebok’s Release DMX6 running shoe, mixes video and film to make viewers feel as if they are running with the athletes as they strive for the finish line. Nike’s ACG line of cross-training gear is touted in the fourth spot. The tagline for the fast-paced work is, “When you really live sports.” Champs will back the initial five-week campaign, to appear on network and cable TV, with $6-7 million. Previous work from Bates USA showed consumers in Champs stores. Publicis picked up the business in January. –Sloane Lucas

Client: Scotts Company, Marysville, Ohio
Agency: Partners & Shevack, New York
Creative Director/Copywriter: Jeff Williamson
Agency Producer: Jerry Mason
Director: Steve Sanger, American Pictures
Since most homeowners already fertilize their lawn each spring, Scotts sees fall as the growth season for its Turf Builder fertilizer. A new campaign from Partners & Shevack, backed by $4 million–the client’s largest fall ad budget to date–will promote the client’s view that autumn is, in fact, the best time to fertilize. To support that message, the spot (in 30-second and 15-second executions) uses three suburban homeowners–Jay, Al and Rich–who, in thick Chicago accents, discuss the beating their lawns take over the summer from heavy sun and drought. The three repeatedly state how important it is to fertilize the lawn before the cold weather arrives. The tagline–“A great fall lawn. Guaranteed.”–is a variation on last year’s “A great lawn. Guaranteed.” The “guaranteed” theme has appeared in each tagline Shevack has created for Scotts since the campaign started in 1995. The company regards the phrase as more of a promise than a traditional tagline because consumers depend on the company for advice on lawns and gardening, as well as for the product, said Gordon Hecker, vice president of advertising at the client. Jay, Al and Rich are real people Scotts found after cruising through suburban Chicago looking for well-kept lawns as part of the “Neighbors” campaign the company has run for the past three years. Scotts’ 1997 spot featured a testimonial from Bill Lee, another customer who worried that his lawn would not endure the winter. After using Turf Builder he was, naturally, pleased with the thick, lush result. Scotts, the market leader with a 59 percent share, has increased its share by 8 percent since the campaign began, Hecker said. Vigoro, the house brand of Home Depot, is Scotts’ closest competitor. Scotts spent $2 million on advertising last autumn and $15 million on this past spring. Commercials will air in prime time and daytime on broadcast and cable channels. –Justin Dini