Edelman was recently tasked with driving awareness and demand for Hebrew National hot dogs during the cluttered tailgating season and with a budget of only $50,000. Putting content at the core, the team built a scrappy, efficient, cross-channel activation titled "NFL: National Franks League"— a series featuring hot dog toppings inspired by each NFL team.
Hebrew National's seasonal focus is the summer season but with commodity prices soaring and a potential meat shortage on the horizon, the brand wanted to drive a spike in awareness and trial during a new drive time – tailgating season – with the goal of increasing sales. It was imperative that the program drive scale yet be efficient and unique to break through the crowded football landscape.
To bring this approach to life for Hebrew National, the team developed the program concept – NFL: National Franks League, consisting of 32 hot dog topping ideas that represent each team in the NFL. By strategically organizing a cost-efficient photo shoot, the team was able to create the 32 pieces of content. Through media pitching, paid amplification and social media, the program was able to generate more than 10 million impressions in three days and 53 million impressions overall.
The Edelman team huddled with ConAgra Foods, makers of Hebrew National, to develop an organization-wide, cross-channel approach to content marketing. The approach is simple – develop an overarching idea that can be sustained for a specific time period, leveraging core assets that can be sliced-and-diced into microcontent that lives across paid, owned and earned channels. With a limited budget, this simplified content approach allows the brand to tell an effective, unique story efficiently and at scale.
The National Franks League content includes a unique recipe to mirror each team's hometown heritage and highlight their culinary favorites. For example, the Green Bay Packers dog is topped with the local favorite cheese curds and sauerkraut and Chicago Bears dog has mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, peppers and celery salt. This diverse content allowed fans of football and hot dogs alike to expand their usage ideas and encourage them to eat hot dogs more often during the winter months, outside of the traditional grilling season.
As a traditionally kosher company, the team also used this opportunity to test consumer response regarding non-kosher hot dogs through Facebook. Out of the 32 hot dogs, nine of them were not kosher, allowing the team plenty of either options to share online.
Knowing that budget was limited and timing was tight, Edelman proposed a scrappy photo shoot that would yield 20+ images that could be used across paid, owned and earned starting with the NFL season openers in late August and lasting through the Super Bowl in early February.
Through trendspotting research, our team was able to pinpoint a specific media contact that was able to push the exclusive first article live on Mashable. The team was also able to secure additional placements that weekend on "Good Morning America," CBS Sports "The Other Pre Game Show" and Kitchen Daily. As soon as the coverage hit, the team applied paid amplification to earned placements and shared the content the through social posts.
Hebrew National also created visually engaging social content using the photography from the photo shoot that focused on popular teams and popular games throughout the entire football season resulting in 21 unique social posts. By applying paid amplification and geo-targeting to key rivalry games throughout the football season, the team increased social awareness among various fan bases.
By mid-season, the team evaluated consumer response on the Facebook page. Although there was a large amount of positive response to the NFL program, the non-kosher hot dogs did not resonate with a small portion of the community. Moving forward, the team tailored social content to focus on kosher hot dog options to satisfy the entire Hebrew National Facebook fanbase.
The team worked with ConAgra to extend and integrate the NFL campaign ainto their owned channels, specifically the Hebrew National brand website and Forkful, ConAgra's content marketing hub. Additional content highlighted the campaign and directed fans to the Facebook page to see all the details.
To keep up momentum throughout football season, the team continued to insert Hebrew National into upcoming football news through trend spotting and a Newsroom approach. Through ongoing pitching to local outlets during key games and rivalries, the team was able to secure two earned media placements on FOX Indianapolis and a placement on CW Chicago. With a final push around the Super Bowl matchup, the team was able to conclude the campaign with a broadcast placement on GMA Weekend featuring the Seattle and New England franks.
The program secured more than 24.7 million traditional media impressions, 11.6 million earned social impressions, 10 million in traditional paid amplification and 6.7 million owned social impressions, all combined for a total of 53 million impressions. Additionally during the campaign period, the brand saw increased dollar sales of 7.2 percent in September and 7.9 percent in October compared to the same time last year.
The program was not only successful by generating millions of impressions and a wealth of social content within a small budget, but was also able to increase usage of a product that is traditionally only purchased in the summer months.
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