It's like Christmas morning for Mariners' fans as the team unveils its new commercials for the 2013 season.
The six spots feature a number of humorous scenarios including Felix Hernandez spicing things up with his new hot "High Heat" hot sauce, second baseman Dustin Ackley wearing his love for the fans on his sleeve...and his head, and his chest, and his back, and elsewhere. And several spots include fans for the first time, including a guy who takes his love of the M's a little too far with his wife and kids.
The commercials will begin airing on Sunday, March 17, during the broadcast of the Mariners vs. Texas Rangers Spring Training game (1:05 p.m. start) on Root Sports. They'll run throughout the season. This year's campaign features a new tagline, "True to the Blue."
"True to the Blue is about the connection fans have to the past, present and future of Mariners Baseball. It's a way to say, 'I'm a Mariners fan,'" said Kevin Martinez, Mariners Vice President of Marketing.
The spots are the latest brainchild of veteran Seattle ad man Jim Copacino and his team of creative baseball fans from Copacino+Fukikado, the Mariners long time advertising agency.
He says the process started in November with a bunch of brainstorming sessions.
"We get our whole creative team together and we just start working out scenarios. We've done this for so many years, we have a pretty good idea of what the ground rules, what the boundaries are."
Copacino says his team starts with dozens of ideas before ultimately trimming the list down to about 25 they present to the Mariners in December.
"You know someone once said the way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas. So we sort of cover the walls with plots and scenarios and then we write scripts and then we edit them internally and then we share a bunch with the Mariners." he says.
Once the Mariners sign off on the five or six final spots, then the actual pre-production begins before Copacino and his team along with the crew led by director Ron Gross heads to the M's Spring Training center in Peoria, Ariz. in February to shoot the spots with the players.
"Every once in awhile a spot doesn't turn out quite as well as we hope it does but this year I think there's general satisfaction that we pretty much got what we hoped to get," he says of the six commercials.
The spots have become highly anticipated and a fan favorite over the years for their humor and originality. But Copacino says even though his agency has been behind them for 15 years, the M's deserve a lot of credit for giving him the freedom to be funny.
"They have a really keen sense of understanding that baseball is entertainment as well as a professional sport and that people respond to entertaining messages," he says. "And they've been very supportive of us and we've been very fortunate to be along for the ride season after season."
You can check out the videos below, and vote for your favorite on the Mariners website.
Hottest Thing in Town
The Wise ol' Buffalo
Focused & Relaxed