ESPN today released a new promotional video in the lead-up to its World Cup 2014 coverage. The unique video features Ian Darke using his commentating skills in a different setting — a restaurant instead of a soccer stadium.
While there’s a couple of moments in the video that produce a mild grin, the video is a let-down compared to the World Cup commercials that ESPN released in 2010 ahead of its coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Those featured ESPN soccer commercials with songs by U2, stunning visuals and pure goosebump moments.
This video, and the other video released so far this year by ESPN, feel more like videos that should be played at an ESPN company meeting to generate a few laughs and to motivate the employees. While I’m sure Ian Darke and the writers had fun with the restaurant concept, ESPN’s attempt to focus on the humorous side falls flat on its face.
As I wrote about in January, ESPN seems more focused lately on the entertainment value and generating record TV ratings than its previous approach of concentrating on the sport, hiring the best talent and, as a result of that approach, getting the record TV ratings the old-fashioned way, by earning it.
Developed by ESPN in collaboration with creative agency The Vault, the video, titled “Ian’s Getting Ready,” debuts digitally on April 1, a day before Darke calls the USA-Mexico match in Glendale, Arizona.