Ball Park hot dogs’ social media push helps out-of-work stadium vendors

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Ball Park hot dogs launched a social media campaign to help support baseball stadium vendors who are out of work while these venues remain closed to the public, according to a press release.
  • The brand will donate $100,000 to help stadium vendors through Major League Baseball Charities.
  • Consumers are called to post a video or photo of their favorite baseball memory using the #FrankItForward hashtag or retweet the brand’s announcement. For each of the first 50,000 tweets or retweets, Ball Park will donate an additional $1 dollar through Sept. 7.

Dive Insight:

The Major League Baseball season, which kicks off tonight, is unusual this year: Spring training took place in July, players are regularly being tested for COVID-19, just 60 games will be played instead of the usual 162 and stadiums are closed to the public, with games being broadcast on TV for fans. Interest in the season could be high for both consumers and marketers as MLB is one of the first major sports leagues to return to gameplay following widespread shutdowns during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Just what marketing to sports fans will look like this year is still unclear, as in-stadium activations aren’t possible and consumer needs have evolved significantly in the past few months. TV viewership is expected to be high as consumers look to get back to some kind of normalcy and enjoy America’s pastime. As a result, TV advertising appears to a big draw for marketers, with Fox Sports having sold 90% of its MLB regular season ad inventory, Adweek reports.

Ball Park’s social media play allows the brand to be part of this national conversation without paying for hefty TV media buys. Ball Park, which Statista data says is the top selling brand of hot dogs in the U.S., may have an opportunity to sell its franks to consumers who want the ballpark feeling while they watch games at home this season with a campaign designed to build awareness on social media. A number of consumer packaged goods food brands have seen a spike in sales during the pandemic as consumers hunker down at home and look for comfort foods.

The cause marketing angle of the campaign positions the brand as looking out for vendors who sell its franks in stadiums and comes as consumers have expressed a strong desire for brands to be part of the solution during a difficult time for society. People do not have to donate money themselves — just tweet to help out fellow human — which could help the effort go viral by tugging on the heartstrings of consumers who have sympathy for out-of-work vendors that are part of the baseball experience.

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