Two Chicago agencies suit up and play for Blackhawks and White Sox.

February 5, 2009

51ql5e43vul_sl500_aa240_A line so good they put it on a book.

Given the grim climate in Chicago (the weather, the economy, the government), I’m thinking it might be high time we celebrate the unheralded but quality work coming out of our city’s many agencies.

We hear a lot about what’s wrong with the people, places and things as it relates to the Chicago advertising community. I want to go another way. Hold to the good, as our pastor likes to say.

In this spirit, every day this week, I’m going to feature a campaign from a local shop that deserves praise… not punishment.

Chicago sports teams are a passion for our city often beyond reason. The Cubs seem to attract fans without even playing good baseball. Currently in a freefall, the Chicago Bulls still manage full houses. Bears fans are a frustrated lot but, come hell or low temperatures, they’re there, freezing ass in Soldier’s Field.

Chicago’s other teams need help filling seats. And for that, they turn to Chicago’s ‘very own’ advertising agencies.

Right now the resurging Blackhawks are riding high behind Oglivy & Mather’s “One Goal” campaign. In stark TV spots, the team’s young stars skate up to a lone microphone and state their goals for the season. Low budget but effective, I admire these commercials for what they’re not. File footage of players scoring goals is better suited for Sports Center. These moving portraits bring the players to life, making them user-friendly. Not “lovable” like the Cubbies, rather they come across as ambitious, unwilling to lose. It’s a fresh face for a team (if not a sport) that needs it.

I also like the tag line: “One Goal.” You don’t have to see Lord Stanley’s Cup to know what that goal is. It reminds me of the Raider’s “Just win, baby!” Only more understated. As a copywriter, the obvious wordplay makes me smile.

Though no longer the theme for the Chicago White Sox, I am still a huge fan of the popular “Grinder Rules” from local agency, Two by Four.


I remember going to the World Series in 2005. Seeing these grinder posters along the stadium walls really captured that team and its winning season. Fans were stopping to have their picture taken in front of them, kudos for any ad campaign. I believe the term grinder was pulled from comments made by irascible coach, Ozzie Guillen. This tells me the agency did their homework and got it right.

In 2006, having won it all, the White Sox went “back to the grind.” And it was a perfect sentiment. Unfortunately, the team did poorly and, as is the case in advertising as well as sports, changes were made. Energy BBDO now has the account. But “Grinder Rules” is still the best campaign I’ve seen for a Chicago sports team in a long, long time.

Score two for the home team of Chicago.


10 Responses to “Two Chicago agencies suit up and play for Blackhawks and White Sox.”

  1. Joe Sciarrotta said


    Thank you for the very kind words. It’s the least you could do after I paid full price, and read your goddamn book. BTW, I really enjoyed it.

    Thanks again.


  2. the campaign jones did for the cubs was another nice one. although i still have no idea why a team that sells out every game needed an ad campaign. of course, i also have no idea why people keep going to see a team that hasn’t won a world series in over 100 years.

  3. SRP said

    The cubs work is beautiful (I’d forgotten about them) but didn’t they really only appear as posters along the suites walkway at Wrigley?
    Still, very fine work.

  4. stef,

    saw a couple of billboards downtown as well. nice lines and art direction.

  5. Jim is my pr agent. How many exposures does this get so I can cut the commission check?

    The Cubs work ran as billboards and print ads. The print won a silver pencil at One Show. New work breaks monday. You can see it on this Cubs blog. Not even sure how they got it.

  6. btw, the young skater in the blackhawks spot bears a certain resemblance to someone i know, but can’t quite place. anybody know who it is?

  7. SRP said

    Perhaps Joe’s kin?

  8. he’s a lot better looking than his old man.

  9. SRP said

    Say, Jim, are you still doing those wonderful films for Walgreens? If so, they’re definitely in any discussion of great Chicago campaigns. In my next round for sure.

  10. yeah, we are. glad you like them. and thanks for the signed edition of the book.
    you’re now on my nightstand with Tom Perrotta, Denis Johnson and TC Boyle.

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