ESPN To Use Live Commercials (And Rookie Actor) For New Sports Center Spots

Friday, July 25, 2008


Everyone is anxiously counting down the days until the new Sports Center starts (okay not really) and we finally have an idea of how ESPN is going to market it. Get some random guy and put him on the air live....375 times between now and August 11th. Steve Braban is a 25 year old program coordinator but will soon be the star of the network. Via USA Today....

But next week, David Letterman's monologues might mention Braband's breakfasts. Starting Sunday, Braband will begin appearing daily in at least 25 30-second ESPN TV ads over 15 days — yes, at least 375 total ads — that will all be live.

The idea is to hype ESPN's new live SportsCenter weekday shows — from 9 a.m. ET to 3 p.m., hours that have been used for reruns from the night before — that will debut Aug. 11. Not coincidentally, that's the first weekday of the Beijing Olympics. Wieden & Kennedy, the Portland, Ore., ad agency that created Nike's famous ads and produces SportsCenter ads, suggested picking an ESPN employee who comes across as a fan.

More than 160 staffers showed up for an open casting call. Braband says he felt like he was "rushing through (his audition) like a big idiot. But they said everybody else was being like Johnny SportsCenter anchor. I was real. Plus, they got a big kick out of seeing I'd locked myself out of my car."
On the surface this seems like a ridiculous idea but the advertising firm W&K's recent ads have been outstanding. My hope is that the kid has a "Boom Goes the Dynamite" performance but whether he's good or not won't matter. Either way it'll bring attention to the new lineup.

Updated: ESPN sent along a picture of the guy so I added it above.

ESPN gives novice on-air role in ad campaign (USA Today)

10 Comments:

I would guess that the first few times you saw these, you would laugh. But by #100, Braband will be on your people to kill list.

GMoney said...
Jul 25, 2008, 10:31:00 AM  

As long as Braband doesn't rap at a Taco Bell drive-thru, he should be alright.

Doneycat said...
Jul 25, 2008, 11:40:00 AM  

This kid is a natural...this just may open up all kinds of opportunities.

Anonymous said...
Jul 25, 2008, 1:03:00 PM  

I had a suspicion that people in TV media were several French Fries short of a Happy Meal. Now, I'm here to report that I was right. WHY would a network--ANY network--launch a new 'LIVE' show between the hours of 9am and 3pm? This is the exact time slot that most of us (read: people who are drawing a salary and thus have money to spend) are AT WORK!! Is ESPN targeting shut-ins? Stay-at-home n'er do wells? Invalids? Criminals? Don't advertisers want a certain target market for their almighty commercials? And wouldn't this supposed 'target market' be at work--getting a salary--during the hours of 9am and 3pm? What a lame idea. I KNOW it's a lame idea because the whole thing will die a quick death by this time next year.

Chris said...
Jul 25, 2008, 1:40:00 PM  

Chris, you sure sound like a really fun guy. Probably people who are able to tune into a live show between 9am and 3pm aren't much different than those finding time to blog during the same time period. Are you having a productive work day?

Anonymous said...
Jul 25, 2008, 1:52:00 PM  

little cold in there steve?

Mike Georger said...
Jul 25, 2008, 2:29:00 PM  

I agree whole-heartedly with Chris. That is quite an insightful remark. I'm going to take your thought a step further. WHY does a network--ANY network--broadcast anything during the day when I'm at work and I can't see it? WHY does a network--ANY network--broadcast anything after midnight, when I'm asleep and I can't see it? WHY does a network--ANY network--broadcast anything from 6:30 - 7:30 pm, when I'm at dinner and I can't see it? WHY does a network--ANY network--broadcast anything on Friday nights when I'm at the movies and I can't see. Why does a commentator--ANY commentator--post an inane comment on a blog in the middle of the day when I'm at work and I can't read it.

AA Hates ESPN said...
Jul 25, 2008, 2:55:00 PM  

I guess AA Hates ESPN also hates Chris too.

Chris: there may have been a hole or two in your argument, but at least you didn't post anything that was intellectually lazy.

sdsg said...
Jul 25, 2008, 5:29:00 PM  

hey retards, 9am eastern to 3pm eastern is 6am pacific to 12 noon.

god forbid people watch a live sportscenter while eating pancakes

Anonymous said...
Jul 27, 2008, 9:55:00 PM  

Lovin these spots! Steve is just a regular guy doin a job. Who is in charge if this project? Kudos to you buddy! Live Commercials! Never been done before! Good Job!

Anonymous said...
Jul 30, 2008, 5:24:00 PM  

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