By Barry Janoff
September 23, 2013: The Police sang "De Doo Doo Doo, De Da Da Da," and Manfred Mann offered "Do Wah Diddy Diddy."
But sports fans, athletes and others may be more familiar with “DaDaDa DaDaDa,” the music that since 1989 has been the theme for SportsCenter and since 1995 the soundtrack for the "This is SportsCenter" campaign on ESPN.
To help celebrate more than 400 renditions of "This is SportsCenter" commercials, and also to anticipate SportsCenter's move into a new studio next year, ESPN has unveiled an anthem marketing effort, "DaDaDa," anchored by a 60-second spot in which athletes and fans "subtly and not-so-subtly call out their 'DaDaDa' moments."
The TV spot will run across ESPN's family of networks and "elsewhere." Support includes digital media that will be "updated to highlight timely 'DaDaDa' moments; and outdoor digital billboards in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Lead agency is Wieden + Kennedy New York.
ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter, launched the network on Sept. 7, 1979. The “DaDaDa” theme music was composed by John Colby, ESPN’s music director from 1984-1992.
Among the athletes seen in the launch anthem spot either participating in or watching their personal “DaDaDa” moments are Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy/U.S. Men's National Soccer Team), Sam Gagner (Edmonton Oilers), Jimmie Johnson (Nascar driver), Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers), Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates), Justin Tuck (New York Giants), Maria Sharapova (tennis), Bubba Watson (golf) and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).
“This campaign grew out of research we did in order to better understand the role SportsCenter plays in fans’ lives given all the access points for sports news, information and highlights provided by new technologies,” Aaron Taylor, svp-marketing. for ESPN, said in a statement.
According to Taylor, "Fans have a strong emotional connection with the show. And what we realized is that ‘DaDaDa’ is emotional shorthand not only for the great moments that happen in sports, but how SportsCenter presents those moments — giving context to them with perspective and personality.”
In the new spot, Watson hits a great shot and sings, "DaDaDa DaDaDa" while fist-bumping his caddie; Sharapova and a ballboy do a "DaDaDa" duet; Johnson wins a race and celebrates with a "DaDaDa" snippet; a Little League team breaks into "DaDaDa" after a victory; Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers checks Kane into the boards and offers him a "DaDaDa" to rub in the hit; and Westbrook tweets while watching the Dallas Cowboys on TV, "Dez Bryant going off . . . DaDaDa." (See the full spot here.)