Kingsford Charcoal & Major League Baseball

Dive Brief:

  • Kingsford Charcoal partnered with Major League Baseball on a campaign celebrating the league’s Opening Day on March 29, which will feature all 30 MLB teams playing for the first time in 50 years, according to a news release. Creative for “Opening Day Is Back,” including digital video, features MLB stars Johnny Bench, David “Big Papi” Ortiz and Noah Syndergaard, as well as legendary announcer Vin Scully.
  • Kingsford for the effort also teamed with Vivoom to launch an interactive digital experience called “Backyard All-Stars” that allows fans to apply the voice of famous MLB announcers, including Scully, Joe Buck and Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson, to a video of themselves swinging for the fences. Fans who upload videos online will be entered to win a VIP trip to the 2018 MLB All-Star Game in Washington, DC.
  • On Opening Day in Arlington, TX, Kingsford will additionally host a tailgate party at Globe Life Park with free barbecue for fans as the Texas Rangers play the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros. Fans can follow Kingsford’s Opening Day conversation with the hashtag #OpeningDayIsBack and by tagging @Kingsford on Twitter.

Dive Insight:

With its interactive Backyard All-Stars experience, Kingsford hopes to tap into sports fans’ dreams of stardom by allowing them to put the sound of a roaring crowd and iconic announcers behind videos of themselves batting that they can then share with friends on social media. People are responsive to user-generated content and often find it more trustworthy than traditional brand advertising. An Olapic study done with Adweek found that 76% of consumers find content produced by fellow consumers is more trustworthy than brand-created content, and 54% enjoy using branded hashtags to share their favorite brands with friends.

Running the campaign during a major sports event, when all 30 MLB teams are returning to play on a single opening day for the first time in 50 years, will likely allow Kingsford to generate a lot of additional excitement. The campaign hashtag #OpeningDayIsBack and inclusion of recognizable MLB players will resonate with fans and could help the charcoal company boost its social media chatter and drive sales as grilling season approaches.

Kingsford has been attempting to drum up interest in MLB’s Opening Day, calling it America’s “unofficial afternoon off,” after the league extended the season opener to multiple days. In 2016, the brand partnered with Johnny Bench to create an online petition to bring back Opening Day and a YouTube video urging others to join the cause. Whether Kingsford’s efforts impacted MLB’s decision to reinstate a one-day season opener is unclear, but Kingsford has turned it into a multichannel campaign pairing two strong symbols of Americana: baseball and backyard barbecues.

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