Advertising in World Series Game 1: What's the Winning Strategy?

Live events like the World Series provide an important opportunity for advertisers to engage with consumers in real-time. The ability to amplify TV campaigns with social media provides a further opportunity for advertisers to make the most of their investment, and connect with consumers across multiple touch points.

To see how advertisers are leveraging live events today, we took a look at the different strategies employed during Game 1 of the 2015 World Series across paid, owned and earned media.

Using our Advertising Intelligence capabilities, we looked at occurrences and creatives throughout the game. We then analyzed how the top advertisers took to social media to engage consumers based on data from our partner Unmetric. Finally, Kantar Media’s Reputation Intelligence team analyzed data to understand what users were saying on social media the day before and after the game.

Who scored during Game 1?

The top 10 national advertisers during game 1 of the World Series were from a variety of categories ranging from automotive, to telecom, to QSR.

Top 10 World Series Advertisers

Chevrolet aired more national commercials during the game than any other advertiser. During its nine occurrences, four different creatives were used, each promoting a different vehicle. Though Chevrolet aired the most commercials, none of its creatives focused on the World Series.

Sliding into second for number of commercials during Game 1 were T-Mobile, Verizon, and Taco Bell, each with eight national occurrences. Of these three, Verizon used five different creatives, Taco Bell used four different creatives and T-Mobile used three. Verizon was the only one in this group that did not use a baseball themed creative to attach itself to the sport.

T-Mobile’s World Series themed commercial got fans excited by encouraging them to share images on social media using the hashtag #TheBig7th for a chance to be featured in a T-Mobile World Series commercial.

Taco Bell took a different approach, offering America free breakfast if a player stole a base. For this “Steal a Base, Steal a Breakfast” campaign, two occurrences were used to generate excitement about the promotion, and two occurrences were used to announce a base had been stolen, giving America free breakfast for a day.

Of the remaining top ten, no other baseball themed creatives were used.

Who owned Owned Social?

Based on data from Unmetric, among the top ten national advertisers, T-Mobile and Taco Bell were the most active on social media channels.

Twitter and Facebook were an integral part of T-Mobile’s “The Big 7th” campaign. The social media channels were used to promote the same hashtag being used in TV commercials, as well as to upload videos featuring fans during and after the game.

T-Mobile Facebook Post T-Mobile Facebook Post

T-Mobile also made attempts to engage fans by playing both sides of the field when it came to the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals:

T-Mobile Tweet T-Mobile Tweet

For Taco Bell’s “Steal a Base, Steal a Breakfast” campaign, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were all used to reach create as much buzz as possible and create a cohesive message across all channels:

Taco Bell Twitter Post

Taco Bell Facebook Post

Taco Bell YouTube Video

Four of the remaining top 10 advertisers tried to attach themselves to the game by tweeting with the hashtag #worldseries, despite not using any World Series themed creatives during the game.

World Series Tweets 

Who won the fans?

Not surprisingly, our Reputation Intelligence team found that the two standouts in terms of share of voice during Game 1 were T-Mobile and Taco Bell.

T-Mobile’s “The Big 7th” campaign had a 6% share of voice on Twitter, with handles retweeting promotional posts from Chicago Cubs baseball player Dexter Fowler and sharing pictures using the hashtag for a chance to be featured in a T-Mobile World Series commercial. The hashtag was used 157 times during game 1, suggesting low levels of engagement. This campaign was mentioned 103 times during the game, however nearly half of the mentions (46) originated directly from T-Mobile. Additionally, T-Mobile tweeted so often during the game (57 times in total) that it averaged just a single retweet per post.

When it came to social, Taco Bell went for quality, not quantity – and it paid off. While the “Steal a Base, Steal a Breakfast” campaign was only mentioned in 2% of Tweets, it had by far had the highest engagement rate during the game. This was thanks to its tweet announcing that free breakfasts would in fact be given away as promised in its TV commercial. But because the free breakfast cannot be redeemed until Nov 5th, the momentum of the initial excitement waned. Taco Bell was still mentioned 37 times after the game, however users mainly discussed the use of music in the commercial.

It’s also important to note that, not surprisingly, commercials did not dominate social discussions around the World Series. First, out of the over 600,000 tweets that discussed the World Series on the day of, and day after Game 1, less than 1% discussed ads. Second, some of those tweets actually referenced how annoying the commercial breaks were. Social media remains a critical tool for marketers to leverage during live events – but becoming a part of the conversation without alienating social media users requires a fine balance between providing engaging content and stimulating the conversation intelligently.

2015 World Series Game 1
World Series Brand Engagement

Need to Know More?

Our analysis of World Series Game 1 trends is based on a combination of Kantar Media's AdScope offering which now includes social media data, combined with social listening from our Reputation Intelligence team. Kantar Media gives you a complete 360 degree view of the multimedia landscape, all in one place. If you would like to know more about how a particular category, brand, or messaging is faring across the entire media mix, we provide actionable insights based on our broad range of solutions. Contact us today for more information!

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