Project Insight: A Marketing ‘Journey’ with the Baseball Hall of Fame

Every player has a journey. Every fan has a story. And it’s that story we tried to tap into with our latest video project for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

When it comes to the Hall, there’s no bigger event than induction. Each July, a very select few former Major League Baseball players chosen by the Baseball Writers Association of America receive the sport’s highest honor. Every January, those players are announced.

With the overall goal of boosting Museum attendance for the second consecutive year, ABC decided to include a special video in the strategic marketing plan for the year.

On the surface, it’s a presentation celebrating the inductee class of 2019. But, the motivation behind the concept runs much deeper.

The visuals would promote particular players, but the voiceover would apply to all the greats of the game. The spot is intended to connect with the fan, focus on their personal connection with the players and encourage them to make the trip to Cooperstown and spend some time reminiscing about their idols.

The voice would drive the concept, so we crafted a fan-focused script before creating any visuals. The video department would have to comb through hours and hours of footage provided by Major League Baseball for that part.

And they did, boiling those many hours down for a 60-second spot. The video would include highlights from all the inductees … the only issue was that until the night of Jan. 22, we wouldn’t know exactly who those players would be.

Though some individual ballots are shared publicly by members of the media, the final results are kept under ironclad lock and key. The Hall, though, had negotiated with Major League Baseball to secure placement of a complimentary 60-second spot that would immediately follow the live announcement on MLB Network.

With only an educated guess to go on, the video department produced two versions of the spot. Hopefully one would be appropriate to air based on the announcement, but we wouldn’t know for sure until after the inductees were revealed and MLB Network went to commercial.

The spot recognizing the hard-core fans who faithfully followed the “journey” of their favorite player and encouraging them to share in the ultimate celebration of their careers indeed premiered on tens of thousands of screens across the country that evening.

It will continue to be used across web and social platforms in the months leading up to induction in late July. A 30-second version will also air in select markets based on where the class of 2019 spent their careers.

The journey video is just one tool we are using to promote not only Hall of Fame Weekend, but also the Museum as a year-round attraction.

Historical data showed the Hall’s website receives some of its largest volume in the days following the announcement each year. So, the marketing plan included more prevalent email capture on the Hall website’s most popular pages and a new e-newsletter campaign that highlights key things to see and do around and on the way to Cooperstown.

Digital advertising was another big component that included geo-targeted ads in the primary cities where the new inductees played ball. Geo-fencing ads are planned around the appropriate ballparks during spring training.

Social media represents a final digital component. Graphic designers and video worked together to produce motion graphics and enticing visuals for each of the players to be used and/or boosted on the Hall’s popular social platforms.