Opening Day in Cincinnati is a day of tradition, heritage and celebration. Rain or shine, hot or cold, fans of all ages and from all areas of town come together to show their pride. Many consider it a “national holiday” with businesses closing, kids taking off school and office parties equipped with big screen TV’s and cookouts. I think it is fair to say that Cincinnati Opening Day is unlike any other in Major League Baseball.

What makes this day so special to Cincinnatians? It is about commitment and a sense of belonging; a day where fans can rally together around a common cause. From the wizened, diehards that can reflect with nostalgia on their first Opening Day 65 years ago to new families anxious to share in the tradition with their children, Cincinnati is baseball town. Win or lose, Reds fans are committed to continuing the traditions many started years ago and experience the celebration with those who share the same passion.

This atmosphere makes Opening Day a perfect environment to engage with consumers while creating a relevant link with what will resonate. If you can associate your brand with something that consumers are already committed to, and show a shared connection, you have created an emotional bond. Kahn’s and Sargento are two brands who recognized the tradition around Opening Day as an opportunity to position themselves in a passionate environment with relevant messaging , while proving to Reds fans that they are also committed to the same “cause.”

Kahn’s and Powerhouse positioned the brand in the heart of the Cincinnati Reds Block Party to remind consumers they are the “Official Hot Dog of the Cincinnati Reds” while also creating a connection between Kahn’s and the Reds as home town favorites.   They linked their brand to the heritage of Opening Day by engaging with fans during the festivities and selling hot dogs with all proceeds donated to the Reds Community Fund.  Fans were enthusiastic of Kahn’s shared commitment to the baseball community and supported the activation while Kahn’s leveraged the environment to also create authentic one-on-one engagements with consumers.

Building on a successful 2012 Opening Day experience, Sargento and Powerhouse activated the “Real Fans Make a Real Difference” campaign to provide true Cincinnati fans the opportunity to celebrate and share their passions and traditions with Sargento.  By leveraging insights from the year-one activations, Sargento was once again successful at engaging with consumers in relevant and high traffic footprints throughout the Cincinnati holiday.

By positioning relevant messaging in a passionate environment, both Kahn’s and Sargento created authentic connections with fans.  They showed their support of the team and fans will remember their commitment to the Reds, keeping the brands top of mind throughout the baseball season.  Go Reds!

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