Turner Goes to Bat for Playoffs in Philly

TBS turns bus stops into dugouts to promote baseball
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Turner Sports is leading off its promotion for playoff baseball by turning bus-stops into dugouts in Philadelphia.

In addition to being headquarters for the nation's top cable company, the city of brotherly love is home to the National League's best team, the Phillies.

Turner, which will show all four MLB division series and the National League Championship Series, likes to use a local event as a way to launch its national campaign, and with its star-laden roster in a town with filled with outdoor advertising opportunities and a rabid fan base the Phillies filled the bill this year.

Being in the remade bus shelters, which run up and down Philadelphia's Market Street, is designed to make fans "feel like you're part of the dugout," said Christina Miller, senior VP of strategy marketing and programming at Turner Sports. Players including Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley  and Shane Victorino, as well as manager Charlie Manuel were photographed and they appear as if they're watching an intense moment. "It' brings you to a feeling of ‘hey I want to go to a game, hey I must watch this game," Miller says.

The shelters also include tune in messaging and QR codes, one that when scanned, take users to an updated post season schedule, while another connects with messages from Turner's on air talent talking about the post season.

Miller says there are less elaborate outdoor executions being installed in other post-season cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Milwaukee, New York and Phoenix.

The local ads are designed to dovetail with both the Major League Baseball's "Legends are Born in October" campaign as well as Turner's national promo effort for the postseason, which uses the slogan "Come out Swinging."

Spots on TBS and other channels feature Jason Bateman finding humor in fearful situations analogous to the pressure of the playoffs, from striking out in a bar to being too close in crowed elevator.

Turner is also promoting baseball in 1,400 theaters, tying into the baseball-themed movie Moneyball starring Brad Pitt.

Once the playoffs start on Sept. 30, Turner will start updating its promo spots every day to reflect the previous night's on field outcomes.

Print ads in USA Today and Sports Illustrated will also use the QR codes, and digital advertising will include Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag #postseason being used to drive social media conversations.

Digital outdoor media is also being employed to provide live scoring while games are in progress. "This is something we were the first to do with NCAA March Madness," Miller said, "and it worked really well, so this year we'll bring it to MLB postseason as well."

The song "Written in the Stars" by Tinie Tempah will also be a part of the TBS marketing mix.

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