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Toronto FC new soccer player Jermain Defoe signs a poster after a news conference announcing his incorporation to the club, Toronto, January 13, 2014.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Persuasion Notebook offers quick hits on the business of persuasion from The Globe and Mail's marketing and advertising reporter, Susan Krashinsky. Read more on The Globe's marketing page and follow Susan on Twitter @Susinsky.

The struggling soccer franchise Toronto FC has kicked off a major advertising campaign.

The new ad depicts people in the U.K. reacting to Monday's announcement that the Major League Soccer team had signed striker Jermain Defoe, taking him away from Tottenham Hotspur. The commercial features a series of British characters doing a spit-take upon hearing the news.

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It is the first work the club has done with the ad agency, Montreal-based Sid Lee's Toronto office.

The campaign featured 10- and 15-second "teaser" ads that ran on sports networks frequently leading up to the announcement. The full ad launched on television Monday, and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment will also be promoting the announcement with print, online and outdoor ads that will "blanket" the city.

That includes a double-decker bus wrapped with one of the ads, which will travel around Toronto to promote the news.

MLSE has been investing in burnishing its image, hurt by the poor performances of its MLS team, and until recently, the NBA's Raptors and the long Stanley Cup drought in Toronto.

Last year, the company named rapper Drake its "global ambassador," charged with helping MLSE to rebrand itself.

Monday's news, and the new campaign, are part of that effort.

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