Inside Appeal to the Hard-Core Soccer Fan

Advertiser: Fox Sports World

Agency: WongDoody, Santa Monica

Challenge: Introduce hard-core soccer fans to upcoming soccer programming on Fox Sports World while inspiring them to lobby local cable operators to carry the sports channel.

The Ads: Two edgy TV spots find parallels between human physiology and soccer. In one ad, an ovum under assault by dozens of sperm develops into a soccer ball. A legend asks, "Were you born a fan?" Next, with the sound of cheering fans in the background, a fetus (as seen via sonogram) kicks a soccer ball in utero. "The best soccer network on Earth," a legend boasts. The second ad shows soccer balls coursing through the circulatory system of a fan who's got a large, pulsating soccer ball for a heart. "What flows through your veins?" the legend asks. Both spots note which European and South American soccer leagues will be televised on Fox Sports World, and provide a phone number for viewers to call.

Comment: In these ads, Fox Sports World pits its brand of soccer against U.S.-based Major League Soccer, carried on ESPN. ESPN (Ad Reviews, June 11) in its advertising reaches out to the uninitiated. Fox, meanwhile, speaks strictly to the converted--among them, European and South American expatriates interested in following their favorite teams. The rest of us could probably do without the biology lesson. No doubt the ads are successful in achieving one purpose: breaking through the clutter of soccer-themed commercials airing during the World Cup. $$$

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