Coke Leverages Baseball to Connect with Latinos
To activate its Los Angeles Dodgers sponsorship and connect with L.A.’s Hispanic community, Coca-Cola Co. put together an experiential program that tied into the emotion of the team, the city and the many retailers surrounding the market.
Events were created and executed at Dodger Stadium and retail stores. Dodger Pavilion nights targeting Latino families featured live entertainment, whiffle ball competitions, stadium tours, “Coke Moment” photo/sleeves, complimentary tickets and coupons for free hot dogs and Cokes. “We wanted to bring the ballpark experience to consumers in a unique way,” says Sandy Durham, Chicago-based Draft’s account director.
Traffic was pushed down to the retail level through Coca-Cola Batter Up Challenge events, weekly neighborhood-based whiffle ball tournaments and music jams. Unique media was integrated into the campaign, physically connecting urban youths to the ballpark through branded collateral handed out on city buses. Customized maps giving transportation information to Dodger Stadium were distributed in stores in both English and Spanish. A mobile truck promoted the season schedule and the Pavilion Night parties in and around the market.
“We were bringing value to the consumer and the retailer at the same time,” says Rachel Luke, Coke’s senior marketing activation manager. “In L.A., the Dodgers is one of those properties that everyone wants to leverage.”
The season-long program was staffed by neighborhood-based teams, ensuring the brand essence was tangible and memorable. Elements giving free tickets to area honor roll students allowed the effort to seep into schools while individual retailers staged their own events—store managers were encouraged to create Coke bundles and end-of-aisle displays. Draft staffers would show up and encourage shoppers to buy soda to support the team and community. “We made some strong connections,” says Durham. “Retailers have seen sales increases of both Coke and other products.”
In all, there were 134 events last season, and more than 30,000 one-to-one direct consumer interactions. The mobile vehicle traveled across Los Angeles five days a week for five months, generating roughly 100,000 vehicle impressions.
Ninety-seven percent of participating retailers saw Coke sales increase during the initiative, and the soda bigwig confirmed Batter Up successfully secured incremental volume, ad space and end-aisle displays. “With the diverse community in Los Angeles, we had to create a program that would drive our message home and touch everyone,” says Luke. Homerun.