Acura dealer association nabs retiring pitcher Mariano Rivera for New York spot

Mariano Rivera, considered one of Major League Baseball's best relief and closing pitchers, bought an Acura when he debuted in the major leagues in 1995, and has owned nothing but Acuras since. So it was only natural for the New York Acura Dealers group to strike up a partnership. The fruits of the deal can be seen in the latest New York Acura commercial, called "Legends," which stars Rivera and Acuras new and old. It's narrated by actor Steve Schirripa, who played Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri in HBO's The Sopranos.

"The spots are a nod to Acura's history and the years it overlapped with Mariano's career," says Scott Rodgers, chief creative officer at Tier10, the ad agency that developed the campaign's concept. With the "Legends" campaign, Rivera and the New York Acura Dealers continue a partnership that has provided $800,000 to the pitcher's charity, the Mariano Rivera Foundation.

The hardest part of the commercial was was finding the cars to star in it, according to Douglas Sonders, co-founder of 8112 Studios, the production company that shot the commercial. "Social media saved the day for us," he says. "After days of cold calls and e-mails to all of our contacts, we ended up sourcing everything we needed in 24 hours after asking our online contacts for assistance."

Watch the commercial, which we included below, and see if you can identify all of the Acuras used in the ad. For the answer, take a look at the press release. Also below are a behind-the-scenes video of "Legends" and the dealer association's previous commercial with Rivera, "Loyalty."

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Memorable Acura Models of the Past Make Cameo in New Ad Campaign with Mariano Rivera

New 'Legends' campaign for the New York Acura Dealers continues a partnership that has provided $800,000 to the legendary pitcher's charity.

NEW YORK, (September 23, 2013) – Mariano Rivera has been a loyal Acura owner since 1995, the year he made his big league debut. Since that time, the brand has evolved and so has his career. Those aspects are the focal point of a new advertising campaign with the future Hall of Famer and the New York Acura Dealers, which incorporates well-known Acura models of the past with the 2014 models.

"I love the campaign and how it connects the great Acuras of today with the great Acuras of the past," said Rivera, who is days away from his final regular season game in a storied 19-year career.

The commercials anchoring the campaign, titled "Legends," feature the redesigned 2014 Acura MDX and the flagship 2014 RLX sedan. The spots include cameos from memorable Acura models: a 1991 Legend, 1995 Integra and 1991 NSX. The commercials also feature a voiceover from Brooklyn-born actor Steve Schirripa, best known for his role as Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri on the HBO hit drama The Sopranos.

"The spots are a nod to Acura's history and the years it overlapped with Mariano's career," said Scott Rodgers, chief creative officer at advertising agency Tier10, who developed the concept of the campaign. "The ads are specifically geared for Mariano, whose interactions with the iconic Acuras imply that he's reflecting on the evolution of his legendary career along with the evolution of Acura."

One of the interesting aspects of the brand's evolution, according to Rodgers, involved the third-generation Integra, which was produced from 1993 to 2001. That model has a great connection to both Rivera's career and current Acuras.

"Just like the third-gen Integra was known for its signature round headlights, the new Acuras have the signature Jewel Eye headlights, and we hinted at that evolution in the commercials," he said. "We used a '95 Integra in the spots because 1995 was the year Mariano made his debut with the Yankees and when he bought his first Acura."

The most difficult aspect of the shoot was obtaining the memorable Acuras used for the spots. It required a creative approach from photographer Douglas Sonders, co-founder of the production company for spots, 8112 Studios. He used the vast social media reach of his 8112 Studios and Douglas Sonders Photography Facebook fan pages, as well as his Twitter followers, to find the three vehicles in mint condition with the original paint and parts.

"Social media saved the day for us," said Sonders. "After days of cold calls and emails to all of our contacts, we ended up sourcing everything we needed in 24 hours after merely asking our online contacts for assistance. You would be amazed how helpful people can be online if you ask nicely."

The completely stock, black-on-black 1991 NSX came from the president of the NSX Club of America and had 53,000 miles. The 1991 Legend was one of the cleanest stock vehicles of its kind that Sonders has ever seen.

The 1995 Integra was the most difficult to find in mint condition due the vehicle's popularity with street-racing-style modifications. Thankfully, they were able to find a dark green Integra with only minor cosmetic blemishes that were easily removed with some detailing.

The commercials will begin airing in the New York market sometime in mid-September. Tier10 also produced a web-only series of behind-the-scenes videos from the shoot, which will be available on the New York Acura Dealers' Facebook page.

The multiplatform campaign will also feature the hashtag #BeLegendary on all social media deliverables. Additionally, there will be a Facebook contest in which fans of the New York Acura Dealers page can enter to win a personal meeting with the legend himself.

The New York Acura Dealers first established their relationship with Rivera in April 2012. The partnership benefits the Mariano Rivera Foundation, which supports children in need and has helped rebuild the century-old former Presbyterian Church in New Rochelle, New York. As of August 2013, the New York Acura Dealers have contributed over $800,000 to the Mariano Rivera Foundation.

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