Tapping Local MLB Teams to Send a Delicious National Message

Posted on by Patty Odell

You can’t get much more local than the passion fans have for their hometown baseball teams.

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Family owned deli brand Dietz & Watson (DW) tapped into that local passion and spread it across the country with its “All Star Dogs” summer campaign. Thirty custom hot dog recipes, one inspired for each Major League Baseball team, were developed after a deep dive into each teams hometown culture and cuisine influences. From the Boston Red Sox’s “Lobsta Dog” to the Miami Marlins’ “My Hammy Vice,” the custom hot dogs highlight each region’s local flavors. There’s a crab dog in Baltimore, a taco hot dog for San Diego, and even a double hot dog for the Twin Cities.

“We looked at all the different hotdogs each city has and got inspired to think about recipes for every city that has a national baseball team. That allows DW to connect with people in all these cities who are loyal to their teams,” says Steve O’Connell, partner and executive creative director at full service agency Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners.

The recipes were created to remind loyal baseball fans of the variety of premium meats and cheeses Dietz & Watson offers, while enticing new users to give the products a try with simple-to-follow recipes. It’s a savvy way to turn a local marketing campaign in a national phenom.

The summer-long campaign kicked off during the MLB All-Star Break aimed at extending brand awareness and recognition and runs throughout the rest of the baseball season.

The images of hotdogs stacked with lobster, pickles, speak for themselves. Campaign creative and messaging are distributed across digital, outdoor and TV, with a big push on geo-targeting on social.

Social posts are served on geographical targeting and grouping hotdog recipes by region and/or each of the six baseball divisions, often backed up by paid promotions. Each communication drives consumers to one link where the 30 recipes are listed.

“For example, we look at the American League East, which included the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees and do a push of the hotdogs tied to those teams, and then drive to the campaign blog,” O’Connell says. “It’s social so things are live forever, but the effort will be while the grilling season is in its prime.”

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A carousel ad promoting the Washington “All American” hotdog, among other dogs in the same MLB division.

DW also serves carousel ads that show multiple photographs of the five different hotdog recipes for each of the divisions. Each ad had the same caption, just the different recipes. Paid media was used to target Facebook and Instragam users in the geographic regions where the social posts are served.

“All Star Hotdogs” marks the latest execution in the brand’s “It’s a Family Thing” campaign, which kicked off with a set of playful spots starring Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker in May. The creative platform is rooted in the fact that DW has remained a family-run business for 80 years (in fact, they’ll celebrate their 80th anniversary next year).

“I love local marketing, the closer you can connect with people the better. Every city is different. You have to do your homework,”O’Connell says. “We went in to say this is what inspired us from your city. It’s a bit of a love letter to every professional baseball team.”

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by Patty Odell

Damon Swenson, Brand Activation Manager at Dr Pepper, on crafting a retail program using custom labels tied to Millennials’ passion points and lifestyle interests like fashion, music and pop-culture. He presented his case study at Marketing to Millennials 2017.



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