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Pitching softballs in World Series ads

Marketers are soft-pedaling pitches in the World Series, one of the year's biggest advertising opportunities.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Gillette, for example, is abandoning its long tradition of bringing one lucky shopper on to the field to try to throw a baseball through the strike zone, a popular stunt dubbed the "Million Dollar Pitch." Instead the consumer-products company will woo consumers with a television campaign touting a free wristwatch emblazoned with the Major League Baseball logo.

Major League Baseball itself will launch ads to address these more-somber times. A new commercial, "Thank you, fans," appears later this month and feature some of the game's best-known players telling viewers that they are grateful for the support.

Interpublic Group's Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco created the spot.