Chevrolet is running programs centered on MLB this year, including its "Official Vehicle of Major League Baseball" status.
But the automaker is shifting the weight of its efforts toward local activation, both in grassroots activities and team-by-team programs, versus national advertising efforts hitched to the MLB wagon. For example, the automaker has this year grown the roster of MLB teams it is sponsoring, and is doing a national grassroots program with MLB and Scotts Company (Official Turf of MLB).
The "Building Diamonds and Dreams" promotion will refurbish five youth baseball fields in the United States. Team fans can go to ChevyBaseball.com and enter their ZIP code for a chance to win the field makeover, and either a new Chevy Malibu, Traverse, Equinox or Silverado.
Chevy is also sponsoring the 2010 MLB All-Star Game in Anaheim, Calif. on July 13, a program that puts Chevy vehicles on display as well as a fleet of Chevy vehicles in the "Red Carpet Show Presented by Chevy" and a free parade down the streets of Anaheim that gets national coverage on MLB networks. The General Motors brand is also sponsoring the Roberto Clemente Award.
But the automaker's national promotions manager, Phil Caruso, says national-to-local is the buzz phrase for everything the automaker is doing this year on the diamond. "This year, we have really focused the effort around rallying at the local community level. Everything that we have, from national asset to local youth baseball, is really integrated for the first time in quite a few years," he says.
"On a national scale, we connect more digitally and at some of the major events. But local is really critical because, if you look at the audience attendance for MLB for the last five years -- except for last year -- it's been record growth with over 70 million per year."
Caruso adds that the automaker has expanded the number on its team roster this year to 19. "Teams are all about selling tickets and merchandise. And we are all about how can we touch these communities," he says. "We do dynamic drive events and quality product engagements. Each year from a national perspective, when you look at all the properties we have with baseball, we have increased our level of interaction with product and sales," he says.
The "Diamonds and Dreams" program runs until July 16, with TV, digital, radio and local dealer ad support, plus turnkey activation at 1,200 dealerships. "And it's connected directly to some 2,000 youth baseball leagues, so it's very well integrated throughout," says Caruso. The local dealer spot features the Chevy Silverado, and shows a baseball diamond being built, with a call to action driving people to ChevyBaseball.com.
Caruso says baseball is the biggest platform Chevy uses to promote core cars and crossovers. "The baseball fan indexes very high in midsize cars and crossover SUVs," he says. "You will see Silverado more from a divisional statement standpoint, so our focus will be primarily vehicles like Malibu, Equinox and Traverse."
"From product availability and consumer demand we are the division of choice for baseball fans," he says. "That being said, there are some 170 million or so MLB fans, depending on who you talk to, so it's a very broad fan base; but we also know the core of them are very affluent import intenders -- they index very high against imports, so we have a challenge as well. But it's easier for Chevrolet to get in there and make that statement than any other [GM] division."