Helping leverage baseball fever, the Major League baseball (MLB) is extending its multi-platform, season-long #This campaign (see previous case study) for the 2016 Opening Day with a fresh approach boosted by star-powered spots and light-hearted humour
The new creative – featuring the brightest young stars such as Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Felix Hernandez, Giancarlo Stanton, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Andrew McCutchen – is spearheaded by several spots that give the players a chance to showcase their acting smarts rather than their baseball skills.
The spots were originally teased a few weeks before the season start across the MLB’s own media platforms (www.MLB.com/THIS) and via a PR push, but arte now breaking on air during Opening Day and Opening Night games across the league’s TV broadcast and cable media partners, as well as being further amplified across the internet.
The ads span the league’s 30 teams and open with World Series champion Kansas City Royals decked out in denim for some awkward ‘Family Pictures’ selfies.
Another stand-out spot is ‘Souvenir Business’ featuring Chicago Cubs teammates Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo who have founded a start-up called Bryzzo Souvenir Company to ‘help fans get the home run balls they deserve’.
Last season, the two young Cubs bats combined for 57 home run souvenirs to fans.
A further ‘Nice Guy’ ad shows two sides of “King” Felix Hernandez: off the mound the Seattle Mariners pitcher is everybody’s best friend, while on the mound it’s a case of no more Mr Nice Guy.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder and mega-bat Mike Trout’s mom stars in a spot called ‘Memorabilia’,
While ‘Catch Anything’ tests out the skills of Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen with a fan guy dressed as Humpty Dumpty precariously perched on the outfield wall,
And Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals shows his compassion and hairdressing skills in ‘Fresh Flow’.
Other spots in the initial 2016 wave of #This include:
Boston Red Sox pitcher’s ‘Bestie’,
Arizona Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt in ‘Dangerous desert Predator’,
Miami Marlins’ star Giancarlo Stanton in ‘Tug Of War’,
And two Houston Astros stars in ‘How To Turn Two’.
All the creative was developed and honed by MLB multimedia creative agency Anomaly and can be viewed online at www.MLB.com/THIS.
The spots are amplified socially,
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 4, 2016
and further ads will roll out as the season unfolds.
‘As we begin our 2016 regular season, millions of fans around the world can realistically hope that their team will be playing October baseball and contending for a World Championship,’ said Rob Manfred, who is entering his second season as MLB commissioner.
‘Our game is characterized by great competitive balance. The last five seasons have produced more playoff teams — 24 — than any such period in baseball history and we have now gone a record 15 straight years without a repeat World Series Champion. Fans can also be excited about the great group of young stars in our game today. These extraordinary young players also stand out as ambassadors for the sport,” said Manfred.’
We feel this work genuinely shows last year’s ambitious #This creative maturing tonally.
This high profile creative work should also help the league’s sponsors as they roll out their own campaigns for the new season and together the property owner and its partners boost awareness of an interest in the sport.
Sponsors who have already launched new season campaigns include Skechers (with a Relaxed Fit spot fronted by Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith),
Topps (with John Lamb),
and the KC Royals,
PlayStation’s ‘MLB The Show 16’
and New Era’s #CapsOn (see previous case study).
While new partners like Papa John’s and Apple will roll out MLB led campaigns as the season progresses.
Indeed, this year sees MLB aim to set a new record in terms of sponsorship revenue spend as it aims to surpass its 2015 all-time high sponsor spend record of $778m.
Which itself was a major rise of more than $80m from the previous record of $695m in 2014 (according to the MLB IEG Sponsorship Report).
Indeed, the league looks to be in good health as its marketing revenue has grown steadily since 2011 ($585), 2012 ($626m) and 2013 ($663m).