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WNBA introduces new, God-awful ad campaign


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NEW YORK, NY- April 5, 2006, "Have You Seen her?" the WNBA's new brand campaign makes its debut Wednesday, April 5, during the telecast of the League's annual Draft. With the League's 10th Anniversary season set to get underway this spring, the campaign underscores the depth and breadth of the athletes who play this game...multi-faceted role models, believers, dreamers, achievers, students, teachers, leaders, and champions.

A 60-second version of the spot will debut during the first round of the Draft on ESPN2 with a 30-second spot airing during the remaining two rounds of the Draft on both ESPNU and NBA TV. Both versions feature the hit song, "Rush," by young sensations Aly and AJ, whose Disney Channel's original movie, "Cowbelles," was the number two rated cable program recently with 5.8 million viewers (second only to "The Sopranos").

"The WNBA and our players provide thrilling competition that is exciting and inspiring for our fans," said Donna Orender, WNBA President. "The 'Have You Seen her?' campaign delivers what the WNBA embodies -- inspiration, aspiration and believing in women."

Aly and AJ added, "We are so excited to have ?Rush' be part of the WNBA ?Have You Seen her?' campaign. The song is about seeing your dreams and aspirations come true, and it fits so well with the spirit of the WNBA."

After debuting during the WNBA Draft, "Have You Seen her?" spots will subsequently air during nationally televised NBA and WNBA games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT and NBA TV and other national WNBA-controlled television inventory.

"For the WNBA's 10th Anniversary season, ABC sports and ESPN's promotional strategy is to align our creative messaging and adopt their 'Have You Seen her?' theme," said Katie Lacey, senior vice president, Marketing, ESPN and ABC Sports. "The creative will showcase the passion and accessibility of the league's most prominent players."

Produced by NBA Entertainment, "Have You Seen her?" the multi-million dollar campaign also will include in-arena, print, internet and radio elements. Imaging for the promotional campaign will be used across other League-controlled media including WNBA.com, Inside Stuff and Hoop magazines, with the potential for outdoor applications such as billboards, bus wraps and more. In addition, the campaign will be integrated into the overall marketing plans for all 14 teams and their respective markets.

I watch the WNBA. Why? Because I'm a basketball junkie. I love basketball. What I don't love is having to deal with these vomit-inducing commercials for the product. For God's sake, they're playing basketball. That's all. (For hardly any money, I might add.)

Instead of showing the players as inspirations, or God-like figures leading women to ultimate equality, why not just market the basketball? The fact is, the WNBA is probably helping in some small ways, but basketball (nor any other sport) will ever help the gender-problem in the US. Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker dunking isn't going to put more women in Congress or public office. It's not going to lower the number of sexual assaults in the US, it's not going to stop domestic violence, and its not going to stop women from being disrespected. In fact, aside from inspire some young girls to want to play sports, I don't think the WNBA has really done all that much for women at all.

"We Got Next" and "This is who I am"? Just painfully annoying ways of saying "I can play too, see! Look! Watch! I can do it!" Instead of saying that, which really denigrates your product because it sounds pathetic, why not market the fact that a lot of these women are extremely talented and good at what they do? Why not have ads showing the players scrambling for a loose ball or something to that effect instead of having one of them standing around, talking about how special they are? Why have all that pseudo-inspirational music that makes it sound more along the lines of a 7th Heaven episode than a sporting event?

Don't people realize how pathetic they sound when they make a big deal about a pseudo-dunk? It's amazing to me that they don't see how much that denigrates their game. In last year's WNBA All-Star game, 9 of the players on the court stood out of the way so Lisa Leslie could try an uncontested dunk. If I remember correctly, she missed on at least one opportunity before getting one. Apparently, that's not sad, it's inspirational.

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I believe if they marketed the game instead of who played the game, then some people may take it as sexist against women.

Personally, this idea stinks. Why keep running over that dead horse, man? It is proven that marketing the women who play hasn't given the league any respect whatsoever.

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