By Barry Janoff
April 5, 2012: New Era is ushering in the 2012 MLB season with some heated trash talk between "serious Chicago White Sox fan" Craig Robinson from NBC's The Office and "passionate Chicago Cubs fan" Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation.
The multi-media "Rivalry" campaign, which supports New Era's MLB Authentic Collection, follows last season's debate between New York Yankees fan Alec Baldwin and John Krazinski supporting the Boston Red Sox.
The campaign will be anchored by three spots, which will run during the season on such cable channels as ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, Comedy Central, G4, FX, Spike, Speed, Nick At Nite, Adult Swim, NBC Sports and MLB Network.
The spots also will air in-stadium during White Sox/Cubs interleague games. Support includes POP and Internet, with New Era encouraging fans to continue the trash talk at Facebook and Twitter.
In addition, New Era said the campaign would have takeovers of sports Web sites including MLB.com, ESPN.com, SI.com, Yahoo! Sports, Yardbarker.com and Deadspin.com.
"Rivalries are the most direct and obvious forms of self-expression in sports and this year's campaign echoes that fanatical sentiment," Christopher Koch, CEO for Buffalo, NY-based New Era, said in a statement. This baseball season we continue to show how fans express their passion for their favorite team and city."
In the first commercial, "Slices," Robinson and Offerman are in a pub called The Dividing Line discussing baseball.
"How old is Wrigley [Field] anyway?" Robinson asks sarcastically. "Do you even have electricity?"
"It's powered by tradition . . . something you wouldn't know about at Modaphone Park," replies Offerman, renaming the White Sox U.S. Celluar Park with a telecom rival.
"Someone should trim those weeds on the outfield walls," retorts Robinson.
"It's called 'ivy,'" says Offerman. "As in Ivy League."
"Or bush, as in Bush League," Robinson replies. "I've heard for the White Sox, DH [designated hitter] stands for 'Don't have talent.'
" 'Have-talent' is one word?" asks Offerman. "Yes, it is," Robinson claims.
Then comes a series of one-liners:
"The last Cubs [pitcher] to throw a no-hitter was your pitching machine."
"The last time your leadoff hitter got to second base was at his high school prom."
Ultimately, they get to the New Era caps. "See this 'C'," Robinson says, pointing to his Cubs cap. "That stands for Chicago. All you have on your head is a stocking," referring to the White Sox logo.
New Era continues its umbrella tag line, "Fly your own flag." The spots were written and produced by Gifted Youth, a new commercial production company formed by Funny Or Die.
See the full spot here.