Tuesday, September 27, 2011


By Pete DeLuca

With football season in full swing and baseball’s postseason rapidly approaching; I - like millions of fans worldwide – remain glued to ESPN for constant highlights, news, and updates. And whether it is the Coors Light Cold Hard Facts or the Chevrolet Clubhouse, I find myself willing to sit through any poorly named segment in order to get information about my favorite team – regardless of SportsCenter relentless product placement.

But just when I thought I was wise to all the Gatorade Ultimate Highlights and Bud Light Top Ten Plays segments – ESPN throws a curve ball and begins airing this commercial:

Wait… What is Grantland? I saw a Subway logo in there, and Dove soap one too… but what is Grantland?! Thirty seconds and I was hooked. I caved. I ran to my computer, opened up Explorer, and typed in “grantland.com” so fast that I misspelled it twice.

Turns out, Grantland.com is a new website launched by ESPN columnist Bill Simmons. The site provides a new take on sports journalism – articles written in a narrative format aimed at connecting sports to broader cultural trends. Simmons, as well as a collection of other talented writers, cover everything from Fantasy Football to Brad Pitt’s Moneyball Oscar Odds. I spent a few minutes on the site before closing my lap top and moving on.

ESPN launched Grantland.com as a new, innovative way to present sports news. But, the marketing of the site breaks from their norm. For a channel whose lineup includes such shows as “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot” and the “GMC Post Game Show”, it was intriguing to see such a subtle advertising. And it worked. It’s a lesson that thousands of advertisers can learn from.

Pete DeLuca is the Manager of Creative Services at Maroon PR.  Contact him at Pete@MaroonPR.com.

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