By Barry Janoff
July 14, 2013: It's the ballplayers who are in the spotlight during the baseball All-Star Game and related activities, but T-Mobile US is doing its best to garner a share of the attention in its first season as an official partner of MLB.
The telecommunications firm is enacting a multi-media campaign and putting its brand in All-Star-related high-traffic and high-profile events. The strategy in part supports its new phone upgrade plan, Jump, which allows "consumers to upgrade their phones when they want, up to twice per year as soon as six months from enrollment."
T-Mobile will air TV spots during the Chevrolet Home Run Derby on ESPN on Monday night (July 15), and during pre-game programming and the All-Star Game on Fox on Tuesday (July 16).
One spot, starring Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers, highlights a new T-Mobile plan that "gives all families access to a great multi-line deal with no credit check." (See the full spot here.)
T-Mobile MLB spokesmen also include Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals), Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Matt Kemp (a teammate of Gonzalez on the Dodgers).
The Jump strategy is hitting All-Star Game broadcasts via several spots. In "Charge," a businessman is challenged to complete an important call because his battery is constantly dying. "One-Upped" finds a man bragging about his brand new "7" phone, only to be outdone by his friend's brand newer "8."
In "Urinal," a guy on his cell phone tries to talk hands-free while doing his business, but fails when his mobile device hits the porcelain lake. In the follow-up, "Rice," the same guy puts his waterlogged phone in a bag of rice in an attempt to resuscitate it.
The spots come with the Jump offer, "Now you can upgrade when you want, not when you're told."
T-Mobile will also sponsor an All-Star Game in-game segment on Fox that features interviews with players.
Internet marketing support includes ESPN.com and MLB.com, as well as such social media destinations as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube.
During the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York, the company will give away 30 smartphones during the game as part of its "Jump Instant Row Upgrade," complete with one year of free unlimited service.
Among other All-Star Game-related activations, T-Mobile is the title sponsor of the MLB All-Star FanFest (being held at Jacob K. Javits Center); has created an advertising takeover of the No. 7 subway line that stops at Citi Field; and has placed outdoor ads throughout New York.
According to Mike Sievert, CMO for T-Mobile, "All-Star Week is one of the premier events in sports, and we couldn't think of a better platform for reaching out to consumers to talk about a totally new approach to mobile phone upgrades. You are going to hear a lot from us about Jump! in the coming week, and you're going to love what you hear."
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