Several years ago, Kingsford Charcoal began a campaign, “Opening Day Is Back,” in which it encouraged people to take the afternoon off to watch the first games of the MLB season, with marketing support that included signing a petition to declare Opening Day as a national holiday.
The holiday never materialize but that has not discouraged Kingsford Charcoal from trying even harder.
The brand returns this season with its “Opening Day” mantra, but with more support.
Kingsford has signed as an official partner with MLB, and is supporting the deal with a new multi-media campaign that features a lineup of heavers-hitters, including David “Big Papi” Ortiz, Vin Scully, Johnny Bench and Noah Syndergaard.
MLB opening day is March 29, when for the first time since 1968 every team will be in action.
Kingsford Charcoal joins a growing list of brands signed as MLB partners in 2018, including Snapple, SuperCuts and Mitel as its “official business technology and communications partner.”
MLB has also expanded its alliance with YouTube TV and signed with Facebook to air for the first time games exclusively on a social media platform via Facebook Watch.
Continuing in the food category, MLB is hosting its first FoodFest next month in New York, in which each of the 30 MLB teams will contribute a dish being offered this season in their respective ballparks.
Kingsford Charcoal’s motivation to have people to take the afternoon off on Thursday, March 29 to enjoy Opening Day: “Because whether you’re planning to fire up your tailgate in the stadium parking lot, or gather around the grill from the comfort of your own backyard, nothing goes together quite like baseball and barbecue.”
“What could be more distinctively American than baseball and barbecue?” Lauren Kahn, studio lead for Kingsford Charcoal, said in a statement.
“Both are all about family and friends, food and fun and tradition. We’re fired up to partner with MLB to help fans celebrate America’s favorite pastime – at the ballpark, in their own backyards and hopefully around the grill with great company, great food and great baseball.”
The multi-media campaign features a TV spot, “Opening Day is Officially Back,” in which Scully, Bench, Ortiz and Syndergaard are seen trying to recruit people to the “take the day off” cause.
Scully, in a golden voice that called Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers games for 67 seasons (1950-2016) on radio and TV, offers, “Opening Day is back. Go out and tell it to the world.”
Bench gets on the phone and randomly calls people while Syndergaard stands on a rooftop with a megaphone shouting, “Opening Day is not a national holiday but it should be. Who wants a hot dog?”
Ortiz goes to offices to talk with workers, urging them to “Go fire up the grill.” One woman gets so excited she jumps out of her chair and yells to her co-workers, “I’m not $&%#-ing coming into the office on March 29.”
Scully returns to say, “Thanks friends. You’ve helped Kingsford and MLB take back Opening Day.”
The campaign also features Internet, social media, POP and in-stadium activation.
An interactive digital leg, “Backyard All-Stars powered by Vivoom,” directs people to create a video of themselves or their kids “swinging for the fences to the call of some of MLB’s most beloved announcers, including famous calls by Scully, Joe Buck and Ken ‘The Hawk’ Harrelson.”
People who upload their video will be entered for a chance to win a VIP trip to the 2018 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Washington, D.C. (Details here.)
Kingsford has created a dedicated spot to explain the “Backyard All-Stars” process.
Kingsford is planning a special event on March 29 with the Texas Rangers, which hosts the defending World Series champion Houston Astros on Opening Day. According to Kingsford, people in attendance will be able to celebrate with complimentary barbecue.
(According to Kingsford, for a chance to be part of the event, tag @Kingsford on Twitter with #OpeningDayIsBack and continue to follow Kingsford on its social channels.)
According to Scully, “Having had the pleasure of calling games for 67 years, I’ve seen my fair share of Opening Days . . . and nights and weekends. I couldn’t be more excited to team up with Kingsford this season to celebrate that the original ‘Opening Day Is Back’ in all its glory!”
Added Ortiz, ”In my playing days, I found every opportunity to grill out, but obviously never got a chance to tailgate while in-season. A perk of retirement is celebrating Opening Day by firing up the charcoal grill for an epic day of baseball and barbecue. I hope all baseball fans do the same — doesn’t matter if it’s at the ballpark or in the backyard, just grill, chill and cheer on your favorite team.”
MLB hit a record one-season mark in 2017 with sponsorship deals totaling a $892 million, up 7.9% from $827 million in 2016 and up nearly $230 million from 2013, according to research and consulting firm ESP Properties, Chicago.
MLB sponsorship has risen steadily over the past several years, from $663 million in 2013, $695 million in 2014, $778 million in 2015 and $827 million in 2016, per ESP.
By: Barry Janoff | Date: March 14, 2018