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Soccer Fans Will Get a Kick Out of ESPN Ads

Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on tastefulness and probable effectiveness, with $$$$ being highest.

June 11, 1998|DENISE GELLENE

Advertiser: ESPN

Agency: Ground Zero, Santa Monica

Challenge: Persuade young men to stay home Thursday and Friday nights to watch major league soccer games.

The Ads: A series of TV spots take viewers inside a '70s-style house party, where a mix of celebrities and Major League Soccer players gather to watch a televised soccer match. In one ad, Run DMC tries to figure out what rhymes with (Mauricio) Cienfuegos to create a rap for the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder. In another ad, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers offers a pair of colored glasses to the Galaxy's Cobi Jones, so Jones can better view the game. Lava lamps, disco lighting and pumping music give the ads a 1970s flavor.

Comment: These ads lack the in-your-face attitude of other ESPN spots. But the testosterone level is still pretty high, thanks to cameos by busty actresses. In these kitschy ads, ESPN is trying to persuade men between the ages of 18 and 24 that watching MLS on TV can be an entertaining way to spend an evening. (But as much fun as the party?) $$$

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