It starts with finding the most compelling image among roughly a thousand.
It’s the time of year when the creative team at Jackson Marketing Motorsports & Events begins the process of developing an ad campaign for July’s Big League Baseball World Series by sifting through hundreds of photographs from last year’s event. It has also become the time of year that Jackson begins collecting hardware for its award-winning BLBWS work.
Jackson brought home two Gold ADDY Awards for the 2015 Big League Baseball World Series campaign and for the second time, has been named an OBIE Award finalist for BLBWS. An OBIE finalist in 2014, Jackson Creative Director Chad Rucker calls it a tremendous honor to be nominated for the prestigious award again this year and to share the stage with much larger agencies like BBDO and Leo Burnett.
“As a creative, you can’t run and hide in outdoor,” Rucker said. “You have to be smart and simple, and you can’t cram a bad strategy onto a board and get away with it. Strategic simplicity is difficult, which is why we love out-of-home advertising.”
The BLBWS creative process starts with finding the perfect photos, and remembering that the players should always be the focus of the campaign. “These kids are the best 16- to 18 -year-old players in the world, so they’re the heroes in the ads, no matter what,” Rucker said. “We’re looking for details in the photographs like a dude sliding into second base with a mouthful of dirt.”
Once the images are selected, the “murderous, but fun” process of writing short, impactful, catchy copy that piques interest begins. “We’re pretty hard on each other, but that’s part of the deal” Rucker said. “We may kill 10 pages of copy to get there.” And once they’re finally there, they’ve been known to kill that, too.
With the 2013 campaign, the creative team selected a forceful shot of a pitcher and had the idea of “throwing heat” as a headline, with the player as a larger-than-life hero. To keep the billboard as simple as possible, they killed the copy and replaced it with flames.
The 2015 BLBWS Kickoff campaign included two outdoor boards, each capturing the imagination with an impactful image and just a few words of copy. A third campaign component – the 60-feet, 6-inches concept – includes two posters designed to be displayed in a single location.
The posters were produced but when the team hung them up, they were underwhelmed. “Then we realized that passersby could actually feel like they were part of the game if we spread the posters farther apart, and created a bit of a discovery process by the audience,” Rucker explained. “Naturally, we had to place the posters 60 feet, 6 inches apart – the exact distance from pitcher’s mound to home plate.”
And how does the Jackson creative team know when they’ve got a winner? “When we put more fans in seats and beat what we’ve done previously,” Rucker said.