For most of America, the season-ending professional football championship game (commonly referred to as “the Big Game” by those who haven’t paid for the rights to use its formal trademarked name, and “Super Bowl” by those who don’t care) represents the pinnacle of the football season.
But for the sixth straight year, we here at Walz Tetrick see it for what it truly is… the unofficial launch of baseball season.
As we begin the 50th season of Royals baseball, we are giving Kansas City fans yet another reason to trek to a nearby billboard for a round of “ooos,” “ahhs” and selfies. Inspired by WTA’s history of kicking off Royals campaigns with jaw-dropping traditional outdoor and painted murals, we opened our bottomless bag of tricks to go where no board has gone before.
And where is that?
(drum roll, please)
Oh sure, anyone who has ever played laser tag or wandered into Spencer’s at the mall knows what a blacklight does. But we dug deeper to show you what you’ve never seen. Literally. Rather than simply illuminating colorful spots in the design, we worked with Outfront Media and GP Color Imaging to highlight graphic elements that are invisible in daylight. If a picture is worth a thousand words, these photos only need two: “Holy (bleep)!”
Uniting a proud history with a promising future.
Like all great advertising, the billboard represents a simple idea executed in an unexpected way. For the 50th Season campaign, we’re uniting the Royals’ proud heritage with their promising future. The first outdoor board in the campaign features Hall of Famer George Brett on the left and current Gold Glove catcher Salvador Perez on the right. Their names boldly come to life under the blacklights at night.
At the time of this post, two more designs were in production. Check back in with the WTA Facebook page for new photos and time-lapse videos.
A campaign for the ages. All ages.
Like the outdoor, the campaign-launching TV spot brings together old and new, taking us on a nostalgic journey through our crowning moments and darkest hours, providing plenty of poignant memories and Kleenex moments for adoring fans.
In the :60 TV spot that ran just prior to the aforementioned Big Game, KC’s most famous fan, Paul Rudd, provides an emotional tribute to his favorite team and home town.
PAUL RUDD: “Hats off to the ones who arrived early. And those who stayed late. To rookies, and the veterans, and those who became legends. Here’s to those who stuck around when it was hot, or cold or raining. Even when the game, or the season, was out of reach. Shout-out to the diehards in the upper deck, and all those tuning in from their buddy’s house, their favorite bar, or a lonely highway. We tip our caps to those who wear their hearts on their sleeves, and their socks and halters and mittens and car windows and their homes. We remember our crowning moments and our darkest hours. We cherish the wins and the losses, and mostly the people that bind us together as one. From the first pitch to the end of time. Because that’s how you know you’re Raised Royal.”
The science behind the blacklight art.
When it came time to make our annual outdoor spectacular, well, spectacular, we were eager once again to work with our friends at Outfront Media. They have been essential partners in bringing past Royals billboard spectaculars to life, as well as our eye-popping boards for Park University and the American Royal.
For our blacklight concept, several different techniques were explored. In the past, other advertisers have used blacklights to highlight already-visible headlines and visual elements. A special blacklight-ready vinyl is available for those executions. But we sought to do something different. Our goal was to use blacklights to highlight elements that were invisible under daylight.
Our initial option was paint, which dried clear after being applied by hand and brush. Questions about durability and potency after exposure to the sun prompted Outfront and WTA to seek other options.
Ultimately, Outfront connected us with a GP Color Imaging in North Hollywood, which prints blacklight-illuminated theme park graphics, among other large format signage. GP Color has developed (and patented) a special technology that allowed us to highlight hidden elements and drop everything else back to nearly black. So not only did we achieve the goal of revealing the invisible text and campaign graphics, but we were also able to transform the remaining design elements. The result is a day/night design the likes of which has never been done on an outdoor advertising vinyl.*
Stay tuned for more updates as the Royals 50th Season celebration continues, including photos and time-lapse videos of the remaining two blacklight outdoor executions.
*At least none that we could find. Trust us, we looked really hard.