Advertisers likely the only ones happy with LeBron's ESPN show

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Jul 12 2010

Lebron-bing

Days after the "exclusive" announcement from (King) LeBron James that he'll be joining the Miami Heat, the debate/backlash is still in full tilt about the whole TV affair. Murky ethics, checkbook journalism, non-news news event—take your pick, and start hashing it out. One thing's clear, though: The sponsors that appeared during that hour-long ESPN "special"—handpicked by James—saw nothing but net. (ESPN allowed James to fill out the advertiser roster, and proceeds were donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.) The eight brands in the broadcast got nearly $3 million worth of exposure, according to media research firm Joyce Julius & Associates. (We can safely assume that's a whole lot more than they paid.) Top of the list was the University of Phoenix, with its banners, on-screen graphics and logos appearing for a total of two minutes and 22 seconds, and earning 11 verbal references, for more than $1 million in value. After that came Microsoft's Bing, with two minutes and 41 seconds and a half-dozen mentions for $873,000 worth of media time. Marketers like Facebook, McDonald's and Coca-Cola's Vitaminwater also scored big during the controversial program. So, add this to the conversation starters, since all the talk about this sordid affair should start and end with money anyway.

Billy Mays here for the unbelievable, indescribable ESPN360!

Posted on Tue Dec 23 2008

Mays360

ESPN has long enjoyed mimicking lowbrow ad genres in campaigns targeting hip sports fans. So, what better way to promote ESPN360.com, where fans can watch their favorite teams and games "anywhere, anytime," than to hire Billy Mays, that yelly man who sells OxiClean, Mighty Putty, Mighty Mendit and other amazing crap on late-night infomercials?
  See the four ads here. In one of them, Mays meanders into an office and opens with a pitch that will be familiar to late-night basic-cable viewers. "Billy Mays here for ESPN360.com! The revolutionary tool for watching sports!" he shouts in his customary, this-one-goes-to-11 voice, as if reading snakebite-antidote instructions to his deaf grandpa. Soon, he's crawling under a cubicle and giving an office drone a Ted Stevens-worthy "series of tubes"-type explanation of how ESPN sends live sports through the Internets right to his desktop.
  Another ad shows Mays with his blonde wife and young daughter, who also sport his trademark black werewolvian beard. In a third, he's hiding out from criminals in a motel room so tacky even the once-bolted-down TV has been ripped from its casing. Hmmm, maybe there's more to this Ted Stevens connection than we thought?
  The ads, created by Arnold in Boston, will run on TV and online.

—Posted by Becky Ebenkamp


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