During the 139th Preakness Stakes in May, the Pimlico Race Course in
Baltimore not only featured some of the most renowned race horses, but
also a mini festival known as the InField Fest – a venue that bills
itself as "the people's race; the people's party."
InField Fest allowed for something more than betting on horses.
Attendees to this multi-entertainment event could visit food and
beverage vendors, and shop at the Preakness store for branded apparel,
caps, cups, bags and other logoed items. Plus, there were two stages
with music performances by top entertainers such as Nas, Switchfoot, Eli
Young Band, Sundy Best, Go Go Gadjet, Glenn Morrison and a headliner
by double Grammy-award winner Lorde.
One highlight of the festival was the Mug Club. Participants
were able to prepay for their tickets online for exclusive privileges
to the Mug Club, open to adults 21 and over. Privileges included access
to all InField Festival party areas and Mug Club areas, and all beer
was included at the Mug Club stations. Upon entering, Mug Club tickets
were exchanged for a collectible, neon orange mug. The mugs were
valuable commodities, since they could be refilled with beer at the
filling stations; however, they could not be replaced if lost or
stolen. Although the refill stations often had long lines, the keg
volunteers always filled the mugs over the brim.
The mugs were imprinted with the Preakness logo on one side
and the InField Fest logo on the other side. In addition to the logoed
mugs, one of the concert stages was colorfully branded with the
Jägermeister logo. Nearby, a giant orange Jägermeister tent offered
attendees a free photo at their booth, as well as shots of Jäger for a
The mugs, however, proved to be a star attraction. They were
so popular in fact, that even the festival's star headliner, Lorde,
wanted to be a part of the Mug Club – in the middle of her mid-day set,
she yelled, "Hey, someone throw me one of those orange mugs." A
friendly front-row fan quickly obliged. And, according to The Baltimore Sun's
review, rap star Nas, the concert's other headliner, is quoted as
saying: "Thank you, orange cups!" after performing "It Ain't Hard to
Tell," another reference to the logoed mug, which attendees "kept
raising to the sky in approval throughout his hour-long set."
When planning your next event, consider a commemorative item
to give attendees. Depending on the venue, it can be practical, like a
logoed plastic cup, or something more high-end like etched wine
bottles. Your best bet is to contact your promotional products
distributor for ideas and products that fit the bill.
The most popular sports league in the U.S., the National Football
League (NFL), has not been coy about its pursuit of the Hispanic
market, the country's fastest-growing demographic. The NFL's plan was
to get the game in front of the Hispanic community, and they expedited
this plan by being the only major sport in the U.S. to televise all of
its games in Spanish. It worked. A 2012 ESPN Sports Poll found that 25
million Hispanics in the U.S. identify themselves as NFL fans. The
popularity of the league among Hispanics allowed Super Bowls XLVI and
XLVII to become the most-watched TV programs (English or Spanish) on
record among U.S. Hispanics.
The NFL was also tasked with convincing advertisers and
corporations to invest in the newly impassioned demographic. Many
marketers have always associated the Hispanic community as soccer fans
first and foremost. The NFL knew this and sought to change that
perception with a direct mail piece. To prove that Hispanics are avid
fans of football, the NFL tapped The Vidal Partnership to create the
The Trojan Ball box contained what appeared to be a
soccer ball, but when the recipient opened the package, it contained a
limited edition NFL football with the accompanying message, "Here's the
ball 28.5 million Hispanics really identify with," as well as a message
with the statistics that 73% of U.S. Hispanics are NFL fans.
"The numbers were always there, but cultural perception
seemed to be a much stronger factor. We were tasked with reversing that
trend," said project art director, Oleg Sarkissov. "Early on we
understood that to be successful, whatever the form of the
communication would be, it had to be memorable. Hence, the idea of a
Trojan Ball was born."
The NFL sent the Trojan Ball to 50 key decision-makers and
potential partners with authority to invest their companies' marketing
budgets. Eight of the mailings yielded follow-up responses in the form
of a conversation or meeting with the NFL.
"It was targeted at key deal makers and potential
partners, so the volume of mail was small, but one conversion would
represent a significant amount of revenue for the client," said Alberto
Ferrer, Vidal's managing partner, director of direct and digital
In the end, the mailer surpassed the projected response
rate, and generated a great amount of potential business partnership
opportunities between the NFL and key brands within the Hispanic
audience. The entire project was considered a huge success in the hotly
contested battle over viewership and sponsorship between soccer and