UFL Launches Campaign For Football Diehards


The year-old United Football League (UFL), a pro league that plays in five markets now, is launching its first national advertising campaign to drive awareness of the league, boost ticket sales and increase viewership of televised games.

The effort by BBDO New York uses the tag "Get Closer to the Action" and is the first work by the agency since it was tapped as AOR. Advertising will include TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, in-stadium signage, digital and social media. Ads will also run nationally on UFL partner broadcast network Versus, HDNet and New England Sports Network (NESN), as well as in each of the league's five markets: Hartford, Las Vegas, Omaha, Orlando and Sacramento. The 2010 UFL season kicks off on Sept. 18.

The effort uses the conceit that with UFL broadcast on Versus, HDNet and NESN, viewers get taken behind the scenes, into the locker rooms right up to the sidelines and next to the players during games. Ads show fans who are painted to literally blend perfectly into the background. One guy is nearly invisible in front of a bucket of Gatorade. Another guy is painted like the wall and handrail on the way to the locker room.



Wil Boudreau, executive creative director at BBDO New York, says the effort is intended to have both a local and national reach, to build local loyalists in non-NFL markets where UFL plays and to reach diehard fans in all markets.

"When we first got the account, we thought UFL must play when the NFL is not playing," says Boudreau. "But they are right on top of each other. Since there is literally no awareness of the league, we had to do work that was intentionally provocative and arresting. The intent is to create a national presence." Ads will direct fans to

One of the spots, running as a viral video, has two guys on a parking ramp whose means of making sure they get to see all the season's games is to extract a baseball bat and tire iron from the trunk of their car and beat each other savagely. Cut to the two guys in traction in a hospital happily watching UFL on the TV set.

While a beautiful nurse prepares to sponge the guys down, one says: "Looks like we're going to be here all season." "The idea is to try to get guys to pass the spot along, and get buzz about it," says Boudreau.

The league is also streaming its games on the Web site, with links to Facebook and Twitter.

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