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Outdoor Life Spots Cry for Freedom

Outdoor Life Network has licensed Jimi Hendrix's song Freedom for use in a major promotional campaign that broke last week and involves both on-air promos and off-channel commercials.

Stamford, Conn-based OLN will run the spots heavily over its own air and also buy time on other sports networks, such as The Golf Channel, sister net Speedvision and the Fox Sports Net regional services, according to a spokesman. He would not say how much OLN will spend.

The quick-cut montages in the two spots feature snowboarders, skiers, kayakers, mountain bikers, climbers and wakeboarders at work over Hendrix's lyrics: "Freedom, so I can live." There is no voiceover.

In one spot, a young girl stands in a meadow holding up a hand-painted sign that says "freedom" and a mountain biker shows the word inked on his palm-reinforcing the music. The second spot shows "freedom" scrawled on a girl's skateboard.

The song, by a legendary rock performer who died 30 years ago last September, is meant to appeal to OLN's target demographic, adults 18-to-49 and specifically men 35 to 54, who are drawn to its hunting and fishing programming on Friday nights, weekday afternoons and weekend mornings.

The Hendrix song is currently featured in commercials for Hyundai Motor Corp. of America. But since those spots are due to end by the second quarter, the OLN spokesman said, there will be only a short overlap period.

The two spots in the campaign were produced on location at Mount Hood and the Hood River Valley in Oregon by Crossroads Television, a New York-based creative services agency that specializes in branding and promotion for broadcast, cable and other entertainment-related companies.

The idea is to focus on the passion and joy inherent in such non-team sports as snowboarding and mountain biking, said OLN vice president of marketing Wendy McCoy.

"The new 'Freedom' campaign perfectly communicates the essence of the Outdoor Life Network," she said in a prepared statement. The network gives viewers "the motivation and information they need to get out and do the things they love in the outdoors-the things that make them feel happy and free from the stresses of everyday life."

"I tried to capture that magic feeling that comes from the first time you learn to ride a bike or slide down a snowy hillside and suddenly the whole world is open to you," director Glenn Lazzaro of Crossroads Television added. For that reason, he said, "the photography [in the new spots] is unlike traditional sports footage. It's more about the emotional connection between athletes."

One string of vignettes starts with kids playing on snow disks, then segues to fast-paced snowboarding footage. The other opens with a boy learning to ride a bike before showing a mountain biker zooming off a cliff into a river.

The spots, which close with "OLN. Adventure TV," do not mention Outdoor Life Network.

A 2.5-minute OLN promotional film, which uses soft-rock music rather than the Hendrix song, only refers to the network once by its full name.