Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Era Hits it Out of the Park with Viral Spot on Sports Rivalries

By Tim Richardson

When I started thinking about what to write about in my blog, there were a lot of topics to choose from so honing in on just one was tough. But, given the time of year and the fact that I wanted this to be light-hearted, I chose to focus on a viral advertising campaign timed with baseball season.

The beauty of sports is that it brings people together. People with nothing in common but a baseball team become united. You need to look no further than the punk-rocker & tough guy hugging when the Indians won in the movie “Major League.” But sports also create great rivalries and the New Era Cap Company, the largest and fastest growing headwear manufacturer in the United States, launched a viral campaign on April 8 that capitalizes on arguably the biggest rivalry in baseball over the past several decades, Red Sox versus Yankees. Below is the video entitled “The Trash Talking Begins.”

In my opinion, the ad is brilliant in a number of ways. First, it unites people by showing that no matter what walk of life you are from, celebrity or average Joe, being passionate about your favorite sports teams is a common thread. Second, it features popular celebrities battling over the storied rivalry as Yankees’ fan Alec Baldwin of NBC’s 30 Rock trades barbs with Red Sox lover John Krasinski of The Office (no disrespect to Krasinski, but Baldwin’s delivery, mannerisms and digs steal the show). The spot is engaging and fun… no matter how many times you watch it (I’m in double-digits). This line from Baldwin about the rivalry is a great example of the cleverness and creativity of the spot:

“John, John, John, for the last time, this is not a rivalry. Just like fire doesn’t have a RIVALRY with kindling; lawnmowers don’t have a RIVALRY with grass; America doesn’t have a RIVALRY with Costa Rica.”

Finally, and most importantly, New Era understands what fuels their consumers and goes right at that target audience in a spot that is timely, direct and, quite simply, hilarious. Since its debut, the video is approaching half a million views on YouTube and has popped up on numerous individual Facebook and Twitter accounts.

When an advertising spot or PR placement stands out to consumers and leaves them wanting more, it’s a success. And New Era is delivering by showcasing the rivalry on its website and social media outlets. On the homepage of the company’s site, fans can cast their vote for either Team Baldwin or Team Krasinksi by clicking on a graphic entitled “Rivalries Are Forever”. They can also vote on New Era’s Facebook page by clicking on the “New Era Rivalry” tab.

Based on how this viral spot is being received, I’m sure we’ve not seen the last of the Baldwin versus Krasinski rivalry. Of course, I’m sure New Era never thought the Red Sox would start the season 2-8 and 4.5 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles. Okay, that was a homer line, but after the past 13 years I’m going to enjoy the Orioles’ first-place standing for as long as possible (And yes, I know, it’s only April).

Tim Richardson is Executive Vice President of Maroon PR. Contact him at Tim@MaroonPR.com.

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