Fox Sports has done some unconventional promotions over the years, including the Harbus, the Harbros and the Khaki Cam, giant Colin Cowherd advertising campaigns, massive Speak For Yourself billboards, and Skip Bayless billboards in Bristol. Their latest move? 12-foot-high bobbleheads of Skip Bayless, which they showed off on FS1’s college football coverage and studio shows Friday ahead of Tuesday’s debut of Bayless’ new Undisputed debate show. Here are some clips featuring the giant bobbleheads, first from their pregame show and then right in between plays on the Kansas State-Stanford broadcast:
And here’s a clip from Cowherd and Whitlock’s “Speak For Yourself” Friday promoting the bobbleheads:
Bobbleheads are not limited to Fox, as ESPN’s Tony Reali got one earlier this year (however, that was from a minor league baseball team, not his network), and promotion of network shows isn’t exclusive to Fox either. It is interesting to see how frequently those bobbleheads were worked into Fox’s coverage, though. What’s perhaps even more notable is that this is just one small part of Fox’s “multimillion-dollar, off-channel media plan” to promote Bayless’ new show, as A.J. Katz writes in AdWeek:
Marketing elements for Bayless’ arrival include a multimillion-dollar, off-channel media plan including billboards, TV and digital; a digital video stunt in which Bayless and Sharpe debate sports with customers at an L.A. barber shop; a Times Square billboard takeover, which will be up during the series premiere on Tuesday; a social media promotion where fans can tweet at Fox Sports for a chance to win a daily breakfast delivered by GrubHub vendors in local markets; and a 12-foot Skip Bayless bobblehead, which will travel to FS1 college football games across the country this fall.
The promotion kicked off Friday at the Kansas State-Stanford game in Palo Alto, Calif. The bobblehead travels to the News Corp. building in New York later this week, and then Norman, Okla., for Ohio State-Oklahoma on Sept. 17.
Fox Sports will also promote Bayless across its multiple properties. The NFL, college football and the MLB postseason all air on Fox Sports this fall.
Why is Fox Sports expending so much energy to announce the arrival of one man?
“If you want to use a sports analogy, Kevin Durant signing with Golden State is massive news,” Robert Gottlieb, evp and head of marketing for Fox Sports, told Adweek. “In the sports media world, we believe Skip Bayless signing with Fox Sports is equally huge news. A heavy media and marketing campaign to make this announcement is necessary. Skip is going to be an important part of who we are. We’re putting a lot of production resources, intellectual and brand capital behind him, so it makes sense from a marketing perspective to try and leverage that as best as we can. We want the sports world to know that Skip is going to be part of Fox.”
Gottlieb also said “This show is for the serious sports fan,” so, you know, take his comments with a grain of salt, but it’s certainly notable to see that the resources expended on Bayless go well beyond his salary. That puts extra pressure on Undisputed to deliver ratings, too. If it doesn’t get anywhere despite the millions spent on Bayless and the millions more spent on promoting it, that will raise some serious questions about Fox’s debate-embracing strategy.