In light of all of the innovations in communications and marketing technology, the idea of a sports sponsorship may feel passé. The reality, however, is that no one can deny their effectiveness. So why is this? Why after so many years and so many changes in the marketing landscape does this marketing staple still hold such sway?
The answer is simply that sports are inextricably intertwined into the DNA of American culture.
America is a nation of sports fans. Even in this technology-driven world where entertainment, news and other vital information is given to us instantaneously, sports remains the last bastion of appointment television and the purest, most authentic form of reality TV. In fact, a recent article in Ad Age points out that sports account for 37% of TV ad spending.
While some fans’ basis of enjoyment of sports is purely financial, often in the form of wagering or fantasy league participation, for most it’s more than that. Sports provide an escape from our daily routines and stresses. When our favorite team wins, we win. This tribal aspect of sports is what I believe makes the biggest impact on our lives. It provides a reason for us to gather with family, friends and even strangers. Celebrating the fruits of our team’s victory (or commiserating after a loss) is always better with our tribes.
The feverish loyalty of sports fans can be attributed in large part to their direct connection with the team. Teams represent our hometowns, states and schools, so for many fans, when their team takes the field, it feels like they are walking out onto the gridiron alongside them.
When we think about these experiences, or any other social gathering, food and drink provide a social anchor or central hub for the group, but game day spreads take it to another level, perhaps due to the infectious sense of competition surrounding sporting events.
These gatherings have always provided Frito-Lay with an authentic reason to join in on the game day fun. To truly integrate into the pack, we’ve had to bring something to that spread – something that would have meaningful impact for the fans as well as enhance their game day experience.
This year, we’ve introduced the Party Like a Pro promotion. Fans who bring Tostitos to their game-watching experience can collect points, bid and win football tickets and trips every 15 minutes during Thursday night games all season long!
For this promotion, we created a unique marketplace, giving fans even more chances to win when they Party Like a Pro. From gaming prizes like Xbox One and EA Madden NFL16 bundles, to autographed items from NFL players and legends, every prize was carefully selected to fuel fandom and encourage camaraderie throughout the NFL season.
The mechanics are simple: Collect codes from Tostitos products, enter them at Tostitos.com to bank points, and use those points to bid on over 250 auctions throughout the NFL season to win tickets to regular season games and exclusive NFL experiences. Points also double as currency for the online marketplace, and every code redeemed for points gave fans an automatic entry to win the grand prize: a pair of tickets to the Super Bowl! Complete details are available at Tostitos.com
While this promotion is still in market, initial results show that sports fans love it! In the first month of the program over 9.6 million points have been banked, with participation continuing to build momentum. At the risk of sounding overly confident, my belief is that the early success of this program has been due to its seamless integration with the activities that make watching sports so electrifying. Party Like a Pro combines the excitement of uncertainty with the comfort of security, as fans never know if they’ll be one of the lucky ticket winners, but the points they accumulate have guaranteed value in our marketplace. Membership in the marketplace provides a new channel for fans to connect and compete with one another, adding to the sense of camaraderie, while the chance to win big prizes ups the stakes of every Thursday night game.
Only time will tell if this program is one for the record books, but if I had to place a bet, I’d put my money on Tostitos pulling out another great win.