They do like Mondays

ESPN defends its AstroTurf
By JASON O'BRYAN  |  September 3, 2008


Monday is a hard sell. It is the pebble in Sunday’s shoe, the chain on its ankle, the eagle’s wings on its Promethean horizon. Mondays are a stalking monument to the harsh realities of adult life so universally loathed that an otherwise inane cartoon cat has garnered an enormous following simply by tapping into the hatred . . . and Garfield doesn’t even have a job. Nonetheless, this was the challenge when ESPN approached Weiden + Kennedy advertising agency to market Monday Night Football, and their solution is nothing if not eye-catching.

You would know it if you’ve seen it. The ad is painted to look like a football field, and in large block letters, says something like, “Is it Monday Yet?” — paradoxically suggesting that Mondays are anything but a blight on every good and true thing in this world — and is printed on actual, honest-to-God AstroTurf, with fuzziness that almost begs to be touched.

Keri Potts, PR representative for ESPN, says that there are 43 such advertisements rolled out in Boston, LA, New York, Chicago, Washington, and San Francisco, primarily at bus shelters and on walls in high-traffic areas. Potts says that the advertisements aim to convey “how ESPN’s Monday Night Football is the light at the end of the tunnel on mundane and dreaded Mondays.”

ESPN declined to reveal the cost of using AstroTurf as a billboard medium, but Keith Burke from On Deck Sports, an AstroTurf retailer, estimated it at between $2.50 and $5 per square foot. The example pictured here, on Brookline Avenue in Boston, measures 46-by-64 inches, bringing the estimated cost of materials (without any bulk discount) to roughly the $51-to-$103 range. It’s hard to gauge cost against effectiveness, but for many, the novelty of the advertisements may be the only thing worth reporting after yet another day of drudgery.

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