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Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Monday
Mar312014

Q&A: MLB Walks Down The Aisle With Marketing Partners, Brings The Diamond

By Barry Janoff

March 31, 2014: The 2014 season promises to be a milestone year for Major League Baseball.

In addition to a roster of returning marketing partners, MLB has first-year alliances with such companies as Church & Dwight, Target, and Viacom/MTV.

New lead advertising agency, BBDO, NY, helped to usher in Opening Day games with commercials under the theme, "For the Love of Baseball," including spots starring Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angeles) in a scenario is which he follows Simon Says instructions from a young fan (pictured below; see it here); and David Price (Tampa Bay Rays), who has nicknames for everything in his life, including his pitches, sunflower seeds, gum and Cy Young Award (Clarence). (See it here.) MLB said that additional spots this season would feature Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw and Andrew McCutchen.

The launch campaign from BBDO also includes a spot that looks at what makes baseball parks so unique (see it here), and another that recounts baseball events that have occurred on past opening days and then asks, "Where will you be on Opening Day?" (See it here.)

This year marks the 25th anniversary of an alliance with ESPN, in addition to the start of a new eight-year deal between MLB and ESPN, signed in 2012 and valued at $5.6 billion, according to industry analysts. A multi-level campaign will include TV ads, social media and a series ESPN-produced 25th season commemorative vignettes, which will celebrate each MLB team. One vignette will be unveiled each week across ESPN platforms. (See the opening night spot here.)

Also making an impact this season: Regular season games that were played for the first time in Australia (between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks); expanded instant replay, including for the first time a centralized location in New York that will oversee all replay calls; new in-game rules, led by one designed to avoid collisions at home plate; and the Derek Jeter Farewell Tour, which will see the New York Yankees shortstop playing in his last season in an MLB career that began in 1995.

"When I started in 1992, [revenue] was $1.2 billion, and I'm proud of where we are today," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said during a media conference call to talk about the 2014 season and the 25th anniversary with ESPN. "I have hopes for $9 billion. I don't know that we'll make that this year, but we may. How high can it go?  If this sport continues to make the progress at all levels, international and everything else, I've often said I hope I'm around ten years from now to see it because I think it's going to be amazing. It can go a lot higher."

MLB posted a $25.9 million ad spend in 2013, up from $18.7 million in 2012 and $11.9 million in 2011, according to marketing and research firm Kantar Media, New York.

NYSportsJournalism spoke with Tim Brosnan, executive vice president for business at Major League Baseball, in the MLB Fan Cave in New York about the marketing, changes, excitement and challenges facing baseball this year.

NYSportsJournalism.com: There is a lot happening this season, including some milestone events, new partners, a new ad agency and Derek Jeter's finial season. What is your assessment of 2014 as the season begins?

Tim Brosnan: It is a very exciting time for baseball. We have a strong roster of marketing partners that are returning and are putting a lot behind their support for the game. We're also looking at great support from our new partners. We just signed a deal with Church & Dwight, which has a lot of potential. They are all in. Arm & Hammer and OxiClean are the [lead] products. But they have an entire family of products. This is important as a new media buy. This will give us a deep presence at retail.

NYSJ: When did discussions with Church & Dwight begin and where do you see it progressing?

TB: Church & Dwight has been on our radar for some time. Their CEO, Jim Craigie, is enamored with baseball. They are baseball fans. They have naming rights to Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Trenton (NJ) Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. They like the fact that MLB goes March to November and that they can reach so many people across the country. After some initial conversations it came together quickly. They are baseball fans. This puts us in new places reaching baseball fans and new demographics. Their Arm & Hammer and OxiClean brands have so many products, so we see them as becoming an incredibly strong partner for baseball.

NYSJ: The NFL and Procter and Gamble formed an alliance in 2009 that has seen several of P&G's products successfully expand among NFL teams to reach NFL fans and consumers. Is the Church & Dwight partnership a response to that?

TB: Baseball has always had a strong presence among consumers. What we now are doing is enhancing and expanding that presence. The Church & Dwight family of brands are leaders in their respective industries and have a proven track record of being popular among the same families that fill our ballparks. Kellogg (in its second year as an official MLB partner) is overseeing a sweepstakes ("Never Miss A Game," offering season tickets for 2015 and flat-screen TVs; details here). They will have MLB branding and club logos on more than 27 million packages of Kellogg's product in store aisles.

"Baseball has always had a strong presence among consumers. What we now are doing is enhancing and expanding that presence."

NYSJ: Church & Dwight will have access to MLB marks and logos, but will their marketing also include MLB players?

TB: This the most significant sports sponsorship in their company’s long history and, as I said, they are all in. I believe you will see them roll out MLB [themed] products in 30-60 days. I'm not sure at this point if they will have MLB players in their advertising. They have to work out those details. They are in the process of developing licensed products in the oral care category and they will have activation throughout the regular season and at signature MLB events including the All-Star Game and World Series.

What we also see as being important to our alliance is that Church & Dwight will support MLB’s 'Breaking Barriers' program (including an annual donation of $150,000 from 2014-2016). The program with Scholoastic recognizes students who deal with barriers and challenges in their lives, and strongly ties in with Jackie Robinson Day and is overseen by Sharon Robinson, Jackie's daughter.

NYSJ: The 2014 All-Star Game will be played in Target Field in Minneapolis, so how involved will Target Corporation be as a new MLB partner?

TB: Target will help to put baseball in people's consciousness. They will carry a selection of MLB and All-Start Game merchandise in stores nationwide, which will put is us in some new product aisles. And along with Church & Dwight, there are so many synergies. Target is one of the largest retailers of Church & Dwight products. We will be in places we didn't really impact before {including] laundry, cleaning products and oral care. Relating to the All-Star Game in Minneapolis, that is where Target is headquartered, and Church & Dwight have an alliance with the Twins, so you will see a great deal of activation in and around the game.

Target, MLB and People magazine are also working together for the 'Target Presents People All-Star Teachers,' where fans are being asked to nominate an outstanding teachers, in a campaign that includes Carlos Beltran and Adrian Gonzalez .The teachers will be honored during a pre-game ceremony at the All-Star Game.

NYSJ: What impact do you see from the new alliance with Viacom and MTV?

TB: With MTV, these guys know how to talk to a young audience, ages 12-24, 12-30. They are the category killers there. This is a unique platform, something that they and we have never done before. Having them in the MLB Fan Cave all season is a great match. They will help to expand the reach and impact of the concerts there, get us in touch with a young demographic on a regular basis. They will be airing Off the Bat From the MLB Fan Cave (every Tuesday on MTV2), for which David Ortiz (of the Boston Red Sox) is executive producer. with some great hosts (Sway, Fat Joe, Chris Distefano and Melanie Iglesias) and great looks at players off the field doing things that will bring the game closer to viewers. (Editor's note: The season opener on April 1 includes Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins taking batting practice in a junkyard and smashing car windows with batted balls. and a segment in which Distefano visits people in a retirement home to get advice Jeter.)

NYSJ: Are you gettng a good response to the MLB Fan Cave?

TB: The response is still amazing. When you look at the Fan Cave, and this is our fourth year here, we've come a long way. It has been a Herculean commitment. It speaks to our strength

NYSJ: What messages will people see from MLB and your new lead agency, BBDO, NY?

TB: The people there have a great passion for the game, and that will show in the work. BBDO is exceptionally well-suited to help us bring the best game in the world to our fans in uniquely creative ways. They have a respect for baseball’s heritage and understand where it is today and where the players can take it. That all will be reflected in their creative.

NYSJ: What is the challenge of getting baseball's messages out to people when there are so many things going on and they have so many options in social media and elsewhere to get information?

TB: That challenge is not unique to baseball. Everyone faces it. We challenge ourselves to make the message stronger, make the game better. To reach more fans. To reach younger fans and people who may not be fans. Social media is part of that. We see social media as a way to reach fans and to get our message out. It's one way we are connecting with fans and interacting with them. Look at what we did with Anheuser-Busch and Budweiser to collect signatures to make Opening Day a national holiday. We had [Hall of Famer] Ozzie Smith leading the effort, and there were [7,000] signatures on a petition the same day it was posted online. We received more than 100,000 signatures [in time to] present it to the White House before Opening Day.

(Editor's Note: The petition was housed on the official White House's "We the People” Web site, where petitions are placed for public review and signing. On March 28, after this interview took place, the White House, via Josh Earnest, Principal Deputy Press Secretary, notified MLB that Opening Day would not become a National Holiday, at least this year. The response from Earnest read, in part, "While we are sympathetic to your pitch to make Opening Day a national holiday, it's a little outside our strike zone: creating permanent federal holidays is traditionally the purview of Congress. So, it's up to the men and women on Capitol Hill to decide whether to swing at this pitch. [However] to celebrate Opening Day, we'll be honoring the 2013 World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, here at the White House on Tuesday (April 1)."

NYSJ: Do you see that happening?

TB: Opening Day is an unofficial national holiday despite what happens with the petition. Our challenge is to make Opening Day bigger and better every year. And when you look at the response that the campaign received, that talks about how popular the game is and how marketing partners can be creative in order to reach fans. Budweiser created digital ads and used social media, so you will see more of that type of strategy.

NYSJ: MLB had an early opening day this year with the Los Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia? Was that successful and could it lead to more international games?

TB: Australia was spectacular. We already have committed to doing it again, to returning [there]. We are continuing to build the game on an international level, to build our international business. One of the best ways is to bring MLB to other countries. To play the game and get people everywhere involved.

NYSJ: What impact will Derek Jeter have on the 2014 season?

TB: That is a tremendous storyline taking place this season. The Derek Jeter farewell tour is certainly something that we will focus on. And the Yankees certainly will be supporting whatever he wants to do when he visits cities for the last time [as a player] and then at the end of the regular season when he plays his last games in Yankee Stadium. I'm sure he and the Yankees would like to carry this through the post-season. The game is better because of him.

NYSJ: How do you see 2014 playing out?

TB: This is the best crop of young stars that I can remember. They bring new excitement and new dimensions to the game. They are getting fans involved and establishing that baseball will continue to grow and get stronger. As for the teams, people are looking at the Dodgers to do well, for Arizona to do well. Boston, Detroit. You'll see dramatic performances, some expected, some unexpected. You never know what will happen. That's why we play the games.

MLB On Target For Marketing Partnership, All-Star Game Activation

Church & Dwight Plans To Hit In Clean-Up Position With MLB

MLB Goes Off the Bat As Part Of New Alliance With MTV

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