Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

Recently in Chicago Bears Category

The Chicago Bears were a hot commodity in the final weeks of the pro football season -- as the possibility loomed that the team could wind up competing in the Super Bowl. Though the team was a hot topic of discussion throughout December on the city's two sports talk radio outlets -- WSCR-AM (670) and WMVP-AM (1000) -- all the talk wasn't enough to propel either station to the very top of the Arbitron rankings among males 25 to 54 in the holiday Arbitron book released this week.

WSCR did hold on to fourth place in the adult male demo in the holiday book, while WMVP was tied for ninth place overall. But in case you're wondering what station ranked first among males 25 to 54 in the holiday book, that would be WLIT-FM (93.9) and its round-the-clock holiday music format. We're told that males who may have a chance to pick what station the radio is tuned to at other times of the year, relinquish that right to the women in the house during the holidays. Apparently even when the Bears are closing in on a Super Bowl berth.

The outcome of the NFC championship game was a heartbreaker for the Chicago Bears and the team's huge fan base. But the game was a stunning success in the Nielsen overnight television ratings in the Chicago market.

The telecast of the game on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 pulled a humongous 50.6 rating and an 81 share. That means 1,771,000 households in Chicago were tuned in to the game on Sunday. That huge 81 share also means more than four out of every five televisions turned on in Chicago while the game was in progress were tuned in to watch the Green Bay Packers defeat the Bears.

The giant ratings number for the Bears left the city's other major TV outlets with barely any audience for their counter-programming. Top-rated ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 managed just a 0.5 rating (17,500 households) while the Bears game was in progress. Both CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and NBC-owned WMAQ could do no better than a 0.4 rating each (14,000 households each).

To engage with loyal fans, the Chicago Bears have launched a new interactive Facebook Fan Zone application (www.facebook.com/ChicagoBears), where fans can participate in a variety of activities and earn points to show their passion.

The Bears currently have over 730,000 Facebook fans. When they click on the Chicago Bears "Fan Zone" tab, fans can follow team and player Twitter tweets on the "Motorola Bears Twitter Feed." They can place themselves next to a favorite Bears player in a "One City. One Team" photograph modeled after the team's 2010 brand ad campaign. Fans can also show team pride by choosing from three different Chicago Bears fan frames to place around an individual's Facebook picture.

Visitors to the Fan Zone also can upload pictures to the Chicagoland Toyota Fan of the Week. Each week a different fan will be featured as the Bears fan of the week on Facebook.

Points are accumulated for participating in each activity, and a leader board in the Fan Zone will tabulate score totals and feature the top Bears fans.

NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 is launching a Chicago Bears-focused blog called "Grizzly Detail." The blog will provide coverage of every Bears game and will focus on the six players and team coaches and managers who will be key in determining the team's fate this season: Jay Cutler; Brian Urlacher; Johnny Knox; Julius Peppers, Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo.

Among those contributing to the blog will be WMAQ reporters Peggy Kusinski, Paula Faris, Daryl Hawks and Mike Adamle, as well as Chicago Sports writer Maggie Hendricks. Hall of Fame former Bear Dan Hampton will contribute videos each week. The blog will be supported by extensive on-air integration and social media tie-ins via Facebook and twitter.

Car maker Toyota, which signed on as a sponsoring partner of the Chicago Bears in 2009, is now the official car of the Chicago Bears. "The fact that they've chosen to further invest in the Bears after our first-ever partnership in 2009 validates the value of our brand and the importance Toyota places on our expansive fan base," said Chris Hibbs, senior director of sales and marketing for the Bears.

Toyota will be the headline sponsor of the team's official post-game show "Bears Gamenight Live" on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. The car company also will be an associate partner of "Back to Football Week," a citywide celebration prior to the start of the Bears' regular season.

In addition Toyota will sponsor the "Fan of the Week" application on Facebook and will have a presence on signage throughout Soldier Field during Bears games. Toyota advertising will appear in the Bears' official game magazine and on Bears-related television and radio programming.

Toyota recently became a focus of attention at Wrigley Field when it erected a sign there that many believe detracted from the ballpark's special ambience.

Two by Four/Chicago is one of 42 agencies competing for the prestigious OBIE Best of Show award. Two by Four is nominated for its Chicago Bears "One City. One Team." campaign, which celebrates the indelible connection between the the team and Bears fans. The OBIE Awards recognize creative excellence in outdoor advertising and are the oldest awards program in the ad industry. Two by Four is competing against agencies such as Cramer-Krasselt, Wieden + Kennedy, Euro RSCG/Chicago, and Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The 2010 OBIE Award winners will be announced at a gala celebration in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 4. Steffan Postaer, chairman and chief creative officer of Euro RSCG/Chicago will emcee the event.

It was to have been a first -- the first time teams from the National Football League and the National Hockey League had come together in a joint marketing effort. But the NFL has refused to green-light a joint marketing venture between the Chicago Bears and Chicago Blackhawks that was originally scheduled to debut in late October.

A Bears spokesman conceded Friday that the planned ad campaign featuring star players from the Bears and Blackhawks bantering amongst themselves in each of several15-second commercials has been canceled, even though the TV spots were finished and ready to air as long ago as mid-October. At the time the TV ad campaign was conceived of and shot, Bears management apparently believed the joint ad campaign fell within the parameters of marketing efforts the NFL will allow. But Bears management subsequently discovered otherwise.


Several months ago, the resurgent Blackhawks had eagerly pushed for the joint ad campaign because the team hoped some of Chicago sports fans' love for the Bears would brush off on the hockey team and enhance their rapidly-growing popularity even more. Now that the Bears have surprised many of the team's amazingly loyal fans by performing so poorly this season, Blackhawks management may be more relieved than disappointed that the historic ad campaign is kaput. "We have a strong bond with the Bears, and look forward to exploring other opportunities to work with the team," said a
Blackhawks spokesman.

"Party!" Now there's an exhortation that is sure to get the attention of a lot of local ad agency professionals who have suffered through a lot of miserable weather and agency downsizing in recent weeks. And there it was at the top of an open house invite emailed to us today. The man who invited us (yes, even us) to the office-warming event next week is David Stevenson, who is apparently anxious to show off the new digs of the agency he founded called Two by Four/Chicago. Among the shop's most high-profile clients, locally anyway, is the Chicago Bears. Two by Four, as Stevenson will tell you, used to be the lead agency for the Chicago White Sox, but then they weren't. And we'll say no more. It's a sensitive subject for Stevenson.

Still losing the White Sox account hasn't stopped Stevenson and his agency from moving on up and around in the local ad world to new offices at 10 N. Dearborn St., in the heart of the Loop. Several Chicago ad industry sources who have visited the offices told us how cool the new Two by Four space is. There's even reportedly a Sun-Times newspaper honor box at the entrance. How neat.

Though he always seems to be busy with one client or another, Stevenson may have a little more time over the next few months to enjoy his new office space, because he has passed responsibility for organizing the next Chicago Creative Club awards show to two new leaders: Matt Brennock of Fusion Idea Lab/Chicago and Liz Ross of Tribal DDB/Chicago. We know Stevenson worked hard to make a success of the 2008 awards show honoring the best creative work from Chicago ad agencies, and the event really was a vast improvement over the previous several sorry CCC shows. Now let's hope Brennock and Ross can match what Stevenson made happen.

In the meantime, let's party!

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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