Fresno YouTube Commercial on National TV

July 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Fresno Grizzlies will be in the national spotlight Tuesday night during the Major League Baseball All Star game. A commercial airing during the live coverage will show one amazing catch. But the commercial, that's already been seen by 5 million people was a flop when it was originally filmed.

This ballpark was a field of dreams for an advertising company who along with Gatorade produced a commercial here. They didn't like the finished product until the spot was leaked on you tube. From there it became an instant success.

It starts off just a regular old Fresno Grizzlies baseball game, until the ball girl makes an incredible catch. Instant replay shows the girl scaling the outfield wall before reaching out and grabbing the ball.

Grizzlies' managers said Gatorade ended up canning the spot, but somehow it turned up on YouTube. That's when inquiries started pouring into Fresno with one begging question.

"We started getting flooded with calls from fans, from friends from family. Emails from all over the country basically saying 'have you seen this video? It is real?'" said Grizzlies Vice President of Marketing Scott Carter.

More than 5 million people have watched the ad online. It's considered a viral video hit. A smart and inexpensive test marketing technique by whoever leaked it. "To me it's really smart. They're probably saving literally hundreds of thousands of dollars by not doing research formally in a focus group by letting the world be the focus group. Let's put it out there and see who salutes," said Fresno State Marketing Professor William Rice.

The commercial was shot in April after a home game against Tacoma. Several players stayed late to be extras.

Grizzlies' managers said the unbelievable catch has even piqued the interest of scouts asking 'just who is this amazing ball girl?' "We had college softball coaches calling us asking if they could get this girls name so they could offer her a scholarship."

If the online popularity is any hint of the ad's potential, it may prove to be a grand slam; even if the ball girl is really a hired stuntwoman hooked up to cables that provided her that superhuman boost.

The stuntwoman is in New York Monday night. She was shagging balls at the Home Run Derby wearing that same Grizzlies jersey. The commercial will debut during the All Star Game Tuesday night.


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