Football, hockey, basketball, baseball. We watch sports like it is the only thing in the world that matters. From die hard fans, to the occasional channel surfers, sports is at the heart of Americans. Game time brings people together. Marketers are fully immersed in this reality and are finding themselves pushed creatively to present sports fans with new and engaging campaigns constantly, especially at the peak of the sports seasons. With the kick off of baseball season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, my 2 favorite times of the year, I thought it’d be a good idea to take a closer look at some of the current and most successful marketing and social media tactics being utilized.
The MLB, in an effort to lure in young fans, under the creative direction of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos (part of the Interpublic Group) has coined the phrase “Always Epic”, replacing the old theme “Beyond Baseball” for this new round of marketing tactics. The previous campaign was noted for its traditionall use of media and marketing tactics, but this new campaign will tap into social and digital media in the hopes to appeal to the younger crowd.
So why take a sport that prides itself on being an American tradition and change it’s entire image to appeal to younger Americans? Well, this is just my opinion, but when I go to a baseball game (I’m 22 years old) I go with a big group of my friends and we go to kick back a few beers, scarf down some hot dogs, enjoy the sunshine and hang out with our friends. When you look around at a game, a good amount of the fan base is just like me and my friends. Tickets are a decent price for a typical home game and it’s summertime…of course the MLB is going to attract a young crowd looking for something fun to do on a warm summer night. It makes perfect sense for the MLB to change up their target audience for this new campaign.
What does this new campaign have to offer? Well, for starters it is going to take on a whole new look. Where the old spots featured videos of a glimpse into real action games and celebrated the traditions and charm of the long lasting American tradition, the “Always Epic” theme will play off humorous vignettes of today’s most popular players. Fans will also be invited to visit the campaigns microsite ,and tweet your thoughts about the campaign and during the games using with the #MLBAlwaysEpic hashtag.
In an extended attempt to make baseball seem cool and appealing to younger fans, and incorporate social media, the MLB network has created the MLB Fan Cave, which will share the thoughts of fans through twitter @MLBFanCave, an active blog, and through Facebook, video clips, and appearances on the MLB network.
NHL—It’s Stanley Time!
It’s that time of year again where hockey fans alike put on their most intense game face and fully commit to every second of every game. Yes, that’s right. It’s the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The “History Will Be Made” campaign, in collaboration with Young & Rubicam, proved to be highly successful last year, drawing in more than 302 million viewers for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, is back!
The campaign has kicked it up a knotch, as the NHL and NBC Sports Group have joined forces to extend the campaign across tv, print, radio, digital/social media for NBC, NHL and Versus, online, in arena, in store, and mobile platforms. The campaign, back and even better then last year, hopes to drive audience viewership and connect fans with the players on an emotional level. The hope is that this will inspire fans of all ages to post their own versions of the TV generated spots on YouTube and initiate social media conversation. As an avid hockey fan (GO RED WINGS) I can relate to intense and emotion filled reality of the playoffs. Like last year, fans will be urged to download the original music composed for the campaign from the NHLs Facebook fan page. Fans can also chose from 63 of the greatest moments in NFL playoff history, matched up head to head in an interactive bracket, and vote for their favorite on the NHLs microsite, History vs. History. ..perhaps first playoff hat trick of Wayne Gretzky’s career?
The first 2 spots, “Mess” and “Wish” already debuted in March and an additional 20 spots launches yesterday with the start of the playoffs.
Sports sure know how to create some great ads.
GO TIGERS. GO WINGS <3