ESPN Deportes and Degree Men, in Collaboration with Walton Isaacson, Debut Groundbreaking Soccer Television Series ‘Frente al Reto’

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ESPN Deportes and Degree Men, in Collaboration with Walton Isaacson, Debut Groundbreaking Soccer Television Series ‘Frente al Reto’

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frente_al_retoNew York City, NY – February 11, 2010 – ESPN Deportes and Degree Men premiered its first documentary-style soccer show entitled Frente al Reto. The much anticipated original series captures the extraordinary stories of eight Mexican soccer stars as they take on the challenge to represent their national team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.  Frente al Reto will air every Monday for eight consecutive weeks on ESPN Deportes at 8:30 p.m. ET. The program will debut in Latin America March 14, 2010.   

Produced by ESPN Deportes, in collaboration with Walton Isaacson, Frente al Reto is the network’s first major step in the content development arena, outside of studio shows.   Narrated by renowned GOYA award nominated actor Jose Maria ‘Chema’ Yazpik of Mexico (“Solo Quiero Caminar,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”), Frente al Reto gives viewers an inside look at the life of young Mexican soccer stars, including Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruña), Jonny Magallón (Club Deportivo de Guadalajara), Giovanni Dos Santos (Galatasaray), Omar Arellano (Club Deportivo de Guadalajara), Efraín Juarez (Pumas), Guillermo Ochoa (Club America), Jesus Corona  (Cruz Azul) of Mexico’s National Soccer Team and Jose “Gringo” Torres (Pachuca) of the U.S. National Soccer Team.  Using player interviews, testimony from historians, journalists and from a long line of teammates, trainers, coaches, friends and family, the documentary takes the viewers face-to-face with the dreams, fears and challenges these players must face for the love of the game.  

“We are incredibly excited and proud to bring these stories to our fans,” said Juan Alfonso, vice president, marketing and content development, ESPN International.  “Our goal with Frente al Reto is to show viewers that their idols are more than just a face on a television screen and a player on the field.  These are people with everyday challenges, insecurities and an enormous set of expectations on their shoulders.”  

Degree Men, presenting sponsor and official antiperspirant and deodorant of Mexico’s National Soccer Team, worked closely with ESPN Deportes during pre-production to seamlessly weave in Degree Men’s product performance messaging and bring to life the essence of the brand’s campaign theme, “Siempre Enfrenta El Reto” (Always Take on the Challenge).  From providing challenge-related questions for the player interviews, to helping create the series’ title, the series brings to life the challenge and high intensity moments to illustrate the performance of Degree Men. The common theme of every episode of Frente al Reto is perseverance, on or off the field.  This was created to parallel the brand message of Degree Men — knowing that no matter what challenges men face, Degree Men won’t let them down. The brand also leveraged its relationship with Andres Guardado to feature him as one of the superstars in the series and will air five commercials during each half-hour episode.

“We are pleased with the outcome of Frente al Reto and hope soccer fans will enjoy watching the series as much as we enjoyed creating it,” said Jay Mathew, marketing director for Degree Men.  “The content of the series represents the essence of the Degree Men brand and showcases how our product performs during the most intense situations on and off the field.  Not only is our message a perfect fit for this series, it also gave players much to think and talk about in each episode as they prepared to face the biggest challenge of their careers.” 

 “Walton Isaacson is proud to be partnering with ESPN Deportes to share the untold stories that help bring Frente al Reto to life,” says Cory Isaacson, Co-founder, Walton Isaacson. “From the beginning, our concept was to help reveal a more dynamic look at the challenges the biggest players in the sport experience while trying to realize their dreams. Thanks to our partner Degree Men, these rich stories and the show format provide an amazing backdrop to the immense anticipation leading up to the World Cup this summer.”    

In addition to television exposure, Degree Men’s branding will extend to radio, as well as online on, a microsite exclusively created for the series. Mindshare, Degree Men’s media agency of record, managed the media planning.       

“We are excited to have Degree Men as the presenting sponsor of the Frente al Reto series,” said John Fitzgerald, vice president, multimedia sales, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Audio. “Frente al Reto is an example of how an advertiser’s brand essence can be woven into a program while maintaining journalistic integrity and fan entertainment. Our collaboration with Degree Men and Walton Isaacson has created a series that soccer fans will love.” 

Frente al Reto was brought to life with the highest production standards in Spanish-language television.  The level of equipment used — from cameras, to color correction, to sound design — is unprecedented for the network.  An ESPN Deportes and Walton Isaacson crew traveled for several months to England, Holland, Mexico, Spain, Turkey and the United States to shoot the players and conduct over 100 interviews.  The show premiered Monday, February 8 featuring Andres Guardado, who is also the spokesperson for Degree Men. Schedule for remaining episodes as follows:  

Monday, Feb. 15 (8:30 p.m.) – Omar Arellano, Forward, Guadalajara and Mexico’s National Soccer Team
Monday, Feb. 22 (8:30 p.m.) – Guillermon Ochoa, Goalkeeper, Club America and Mexico’s National Soccer Team
Monday, March 1 (8:30 p.m.) – Johnny Magallón, Defender, Club Deportivo Guadalajara and Mexico’s National Soccer Team
Monday, March 8 (8:30 p.m.) – Jesús Corona, Goalkeeper, Cruz Azul and Mexico’s National Soccer Team
Monday, March 15 (8:30 p.m.) – Giovanni Dos Santos, Attacking Midfielder, Galatasaray and Mexico’s National Soccer Team
Monday, March 22 (8:30 p.m.) – Efraín Juárez, Defender, UNAM Pumas and Mexico’s National Soccer Team
Monday, March 29 (8:30 p.m.) – José Francisco Torres, Midfielder, Pachuca and U.S.A. National Soccer Team

About ESPN Deportes:

ESPN DEPORTES is ESPN’s multimedia, Spanish-language sports brand dedicated to providing the widest variety of sports to the U.S. Hispanic sports fan via television, radio, online, print, and wireless. Sports media assets include ESPN Deportes television which offers unparalleled Spanish-language sports programming, featuring more than 1,800 live and/or original hours of sports programming presented annually; ESPN Deportes Radio, the only around-the-clock national Spanish-language sports radio network in the U.S.;, the #1 Spanish-language sports Web site among Spanish-preferred fans in the U.S.; ESPN Deportes La Revista, the first general sports Spanish-language magazine in the U.S.; and ESPN Deportes Mobile, the brand’s  emerging business which offers Spanish-language sports content to fans via wireless devices.   

About Degree Men:

Degree Men invisible solid’s body responsive formula releases extra protection when it’s needed most so men can take those risks in life that make it worth living. Men can feel confident about the effective level of protection of Degree Men – especially when their adrenaline is pumping during make or break soccer moments – Degree Men won’t let them down!  Degree Men is available in food, drug, mass outlet, club and value stores nationwide.  For more information, please visit 

About Unilever:

Unilever’s mission is to add vitality to life.  We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life.  Each day, around the world, consumers make 160 million decisions to purchase Unilever products. 

In the United States, the portfolio includes major brand icons such as: Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann’s, Klondike, Knorr, Lipton, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Suave, Sunsilk and Vaseline.  All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies.  Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities where we live, work and play, Unilever employs more than 14,000 people in both the United States and Puerto Rico – generating nearly $10 billion in sales in 2007.  For more information, visit 

About Walton|Isaacson:
Walton|Isaacson (W|I) is an independent, minority-owned (Certified), agency with offices in Beverly Hills, Chicago, New York and Tokyo. They build Fortune 500 brands with innovative marketing campaigns. The agency capitalizes on industry trends by leveraging the intellectual strength of the world’s best and most diverse marketing and brand talent. Walton | Isaacson combines industry leading creative and strategic thinking with “best in class” execution. The company has helped to create some of the industry’s most memorable consumer brand building experiences through advertising, events, entertainment and experiential marketing.

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