SEATTLE – It's an unusual viewing experience.
"I can't hear the crack," says one voice.
"Let's turn it up," says another.
Another voice, "Can we watch that one more time?"
That's the give and take in the 6th floor offices of Clatter&Din, in Seattle's SODO neighborhood, where members of the Mariners marketing team and employees of Copacino and Fujikado watched their newest creation.
"It's definitely become a Seattle sports tradition through the years," said Seattle Mariners VP of Marketing Kevin Martinez, as he sat in a director’s chair in the Clatter&Din studio.
He's the maestro of the operation, helping to create the ads, which have been a local tradition since 1994.
"The players have a great time, and that comes across in the spots," Martinez said.
The spots are known for their sense of humor and showcasing the players in a different light. This year, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Felix Hernandez, and Mike Zunino all play prominent roles.
Martinez says the discussion starts in November, and ideas are floated before finalizing scripts and concepts in January. They shot this year's ads last month in Peoria. On Friday, they added "audio sweeteners," to finish the six ads which will air in heavy rotation.
That's where Sam Gray came into the picture. The sound engineer went into a booth to recreate the sounds of the season, including a jump and kiss, like Cruz does when he crosses home plate. The audio recording prompted giggles from the rest of the room but is key to the production.
"It's really hard for the sound department in production to capture, so a lot of it gets peeled back and replaced, bat cracks, cloth movements of the character on scene," said Gray. "We replace almost everything but the voice."
The audio is slowed down, sped up, tweaked, and re-tweaked to get the timing just right. Gray said it can take a couple of days to get the three minutes worth of commercials, just right.
Martinez says this year's spots will be unveiled at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 15.
"It's another signal opening day is right around the corner," Martinez said.