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This Bud’s for You… & Your Crew: Budweiser “Band of Buds” Contest on MLB.com

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How does a brand make guys night out into something more than your typical Friday night?  It pits your crew against every other crew of guys in America.   This is the concept behind Budweiser’s,  “Band of Buds” contest.

The What

Homepage takeover of MLB.com on August 1st (the day after the trade deadline) which include the following assets:

  • Page Reskin
  • Fixed 300×250

The Why

I believe Budweiser’s decision to use its homepage takeover of MLB.com to promote its “Band of Buds” contest – opposed to its 52 Weeks to Win Sweepstakes – ties into the belief that attending a baseball is a ritual act of manhood.  Whether it was the first time you watched Fred McGriff hit towering bombs into the right field stands of Qualcomm Stadium with your dad, or the time last year when you and five of your buddies from college watched the Padres beat the Dodgers (nothing is better) the night before you moved to New York. These are experiences which Budweiser needs to have its brand associated with in the minds of Males 18-34.

Budweiser’s “Band of Buds” contest is a national contest – with local components – which encourages participants to chronicle why their “Band of Buds” is worth an all-expense paid trip to Vegas, $100K and fame.  Contest participants are asked to detail their nights out with photo uploads from Facebook.  Every photo that is liked by a contest participant is automatically posted to their Facebook wall.  This helps to increase awareness for the contest with Budweiser’s target demographic (Facebook users that are influenced by the people in their contest).

 

 

Key Takeaways 

Budweiser used a homepage takeover on MLB.com (the day after the trade deadline) to increase awareness for its “Band of Buds” contest.  I believe Budweiser’s decision to promote its contest on MLB.com has to due with the perceived association of attending a baseball game and guys having a good time.  Budweiser’s association with good times is extended to contest participants network through Facebook Connect.

Budweiser has turned the quintessential guys night out, into a competition which enhances the brand’s image through rewards and engagement.  The contest successfully associates the brand’s image with nights out with your friends, and should help to increase sales with contestants.  I know I’ll be ordering a round of Buds the next time I head out to the bars with my friends, because its what we do.

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Written by Peter Amador

August 2, 2011 at 1:05 AM

Captain Morgan: Major League Loot for You

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Jeter or Morgan… who’s your Captain?

Now I’m a big fan of Jeter, but I have to go with Morgan.  Why?  Because unless your name is Christian Lopez, Derek Jeter has never gave any of his fans the opportunity to win Major League Loot.

The What

Captain Morgan took-over the homepage of MLB.com on July 25th.  Captain Morgan’s homepage takeover included the following assets:

  • Page Reskin
  • Pencil Unit
  • Fixed 300×250

The Pencil Unit and the 300×250 clicked through to Captain Morgan’s weekly feature on MLB.com “Toasts of the Week” which gives fans the opportunity to “Enter Now to Live Like The Captain“.

“Toasts of the Week” is a feature which highlights individual performances that must be honored.  However, the feature is secondary to the sweepstakes, (evidence by the video player’s placement in the bottom half of the page) which asks the user to “Toast Your Club for a Chance to Win a VIP Baseball Experience”.

The Why

The action of having the user toast their favorite club accomplishes two important goals for Captain Morgan:

  1. It associates the brand with good times and great performances
  2. The users conceptualizes Captain Morgan with rewards (the beautiful blonde at the bar or tickets to watch your favorite team, it doesn’t matter, The Captain is always there for you)

Once the user interest chooses to enter the Major League Loot sweepstakes, the Captain engages the fan with a sleek and attractive sweepstakes page.

Captain Morgan uses its sweepstakes page to successfully integrate its league sponsorship with local partnerships.  The use of team’s marks enables the brand to drive its message directly to its targeted consumer, rather than abstractly through the use of a league’s mark. League marks provide scale but does not generate the visceral emotion of a team’s logo.

Furthermore, I appreciate that the Captain asks you to keep your toast to less than 50 words.  This prevents users from questioning whether they can craft a toast that poetic enough to warrant the Captain’s Loot, and decreases dropoff after entry.

Once a user has completed the sweepstakes entry, Captain Morgan thanks them for entering the Major League Loot contest and prompts them “To Join The Captain for a Toast on Facebook”.

The brand is able to extend the conversation with its target consumer by driving contest participants to it Facebook page, turning a one-off sweepstakes promotion to an effective CRM tool.

Key Takeaways

Captain Morgan used its homepage takeover on MLB.com to increase awareness for its “Major League Loot” sweepstakes.  The creative on the homepage drove awareness for the sweepstakes, while the fixed units clicked through to the sweepstakes page.  The sweepstakes enhanced the brand’s association with great memories and rewards.  Furthermore, the brand drives its messaging home by using team marks to create a personal connection with its target consumer.

Here’s to toasting great brands and great friends, sports wouldn’t be the same without them.

Written by Peter Amador

July 26, 2011 at 1:16 AM

US Army’s “Path to the Show” through the Home Run Derby

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The US Army’s homepage takeover of MLB.com on Home Run Derby Day was a pairing of two of America’s most iconic brands.  The US Army capitalized on the excitement around the event by increasing awareness for it original feature on MLB.com “Path to the Show” and aligning its brand with an event that speaks to its target audience.

The What 

U.S. Army’s Homepage Takeover on MLB.com included: a Page Reskin, one Pencil Unit and one Rectangle Unit.

The Pencil Unit clicked through to US Army’s video page on MLB.com which features “Path to the Show“.

The Rectangle Unit clicked through to the U.S. Army’s “At The Ready” video feature on GoArmy.com.

The Why


The U.S. Army is associating its brand with the journey young men take to reach the pinnacle of their professional and personal lives.  “The Path to the Show” offers users the opportunity to hear first hand the challenges which top prospects face in the minors, their approach to overcoming obstacles and the rewards of achieving their lifelong ambition of becoming a MLB player.  The feature highlights how young men of a certain caliber can contribute to the success of an organization at the highest level.  These are all themes which are consistent with the US Army’s “At the Ready Campaign” which shows how young men and women thrive in challenging situations in service of their country.  Furthermore, the brand associates itself with an event where the top four finishers were named: Cano, Gonzalez, Ortiz and Fielder, helping the US Army to reinforce its commitment to providing opportunities to all Americans.

Key Takeaways

The US Army has partnered with MLB.com to create a feature which appeals to its target audience.  The feature was showcased on one of MLB.com’s tent-pole events; an event in which the stars of the day were easily identifiable with US Army’s target audience.  The US Army increased awareness for its original feature on MLB.com and aligned its brand with an event in which its participants and its attributes of speed, power and strength, speak to the US Army’s target audience.

Written by Peter Amador

July 12, 2011 at 12:18 AM

Is Bud Selig smarter than David Stern?

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MLB and the NBA have taken different paths to achieve the same goal, producing digital content which resonates with its consumers.  MLB brought its efforts in-house with the formation of MLBAM, while the NBA effectively outsourced its digital operations to Turner Sports.  There is not an argument to be had concerning which methodology is correct.  MLB and the NBA’s organizational goals were different. 

The NBA desires to be globally recognized. Developing its own online presence would redirect resources from its goal.  The worldwide popularity of basketball allows the NBA to aspire to penetrate into the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC).  Baseball’s limited appeal globally has necessitated that MLB focus its attention domestically.

The creation of MLBAM in 2000 enabled MLB to enter the digital sphere at a relatively low-cost.  According to Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball blog, the formation of mlb.com was expected to cost $120 million dollars.  However, by the second year it was already profitable, after only $70-75 million worth of investment.  MLBAM has since become a reliable revenue generator for MLB.  It is speculated that MLBAM accounted for $450 million worth of revenue in 2008.  MLB’s early commitment to the Internet has created a gaping disparity between the content which its produces, and the digital content produced by the NBA and NFL.  Turner Sports has helped to close the gap between MLB and the NBA, but the NBA will never realize the profits from the Internet that MLB does. 

MLB looked at its situation and determined that they could underwrite the costs associated with entering the digital sphere. Meanwhile, the NBA evaluated its strengths to be incompatible with the development of its online presence.  MLB and the NBA made decisions in accordance with Turner and Shilbury’s (2010) recommendations.

In their paper, “The Impact of Emerging Technology in Sport Broadcasting on the Preconditions for Interorganizational Relationship (IOR) Formation in Professional Sports” Turner and Shilbury identify six antecedents which may lead a franchise, or league, to develop an IOR for their online initiatives: uncertainty; knowledge deficiency; resource acquisition; adaptive efficiencies; regulation; and strategic enhancement.  MLB was as uncertain of the Internet’s capabilities as anyone was during the year 2000; thus, it was not required that they bring in outside counsel for the development of their website.  Furthermore, they believed it would behoove them to acquire the tools necessary to develop a distinctive online presence.  MLB’s position in 2000 juxtaposed to the NBA’s position in 2008, was much more favorable.

The NBA determined the only precondition which they were in control of was uncertainty.  The NBA did not posses the capabilities, nor the desire, to manage an online presence which would be compatible with its brand image.  The NBA has become renowned for its innovation and creativity.  Were its online interface not to align with its image, the brand would suffer irreparable damage. Hence, the prudence in its decision to enter into a profit-sharing agreement with Turner Sports.  Tapping into Turner Sports’ expertise has increased the NBA’s credibility with its consumers.  

MLB and the NBA made decisions based upon the environment and organizational goals.  They assessed their current place in the digital sphere, and made decisions to strengthen their position.  MLB now has a viable business which is separated from the playing field, while the NBA is reaping the benefits of its online presence with minimal risk.  MLB and the NBA should serve as models for businesses deciding how to increase their online presence.  Sometimes you need to partner with an outside agency, and sometimes you can take it on yourself.  The only thing that is required, is a thoughtful cost-benefit analysis prior to making a decision.

Update: MLBAM launched the 2010 version of the MLB.com At Bat app on March 2nd.  MLBAM priced the app at $14.99, a $5.00 increase over last years version.  MLBAM’s revenue will increase by $2.5 million if it reaches its expected 500,000 subscribers. A $2.5 million increase is a modest projection considering MLB.com At Bat was the highest grossing app in its first day.

Written by Peter Amador

February 26, 2010 at 12:11 PM

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