At the time, most people who knew Cholula knew it from being on tables at Mexican restaurants. But for those who tried it, loved it. Spitball was tasked with getting the name and product in more hands and more minds.
Following a less than stellar media partner meeting, we gathered in Chelsea Market and started spitballin' over lunch. Knowing that Cholula indexed high with baseball fans, it was pure fate when we saw MLB.com was in the same building. Soon after, we arrived at the idea of the Cholula Flamethrower program - combining on-air and in-stadium placements that gained premiere TV exposure and provided a way for the brand to be part of the sports food experience.
Spitball carefully scouted the stadiums of each MLB partner to secure the best placements and also draft new opportunities. Behind home plate and baseline signage, LED animations, concord signage, scoreboard digital displays, batting cages, outfield wall banners and radar guns all helped bring the brand to life for those in attendance, as well as those watching the broadcast. The in-stadium experience was supplemented by a complete in-game integration with the television partners including opening billboards, sponsored segments and the highly successful Cholula Flamethrower feature.
A key component of the program was to generate trial. Not only did Spitball secure product placement at each concession stand, demoting ketchup and mustard to the minors, but also landed in luxury suites and clubs around the stadiums. We also worked with their food service partners to create unique Cholula menu items. The Cholula Tater Hots were a home run in Chicago, the Flamethrower chicken tenders were a star in NY and the Chicken Sandwich in Washington, DC was out of the park good.
Cholula was able to achieve an 800% ROI compared to a standard TV media buy. Measured by Repucom, these numbers capture the exposure a brand gains during game broadcasts. These do not even include the eyeballs gained by those in-stadium!
The brand shot to stardom during life of the MLB program. When Spitball was signed as Cholula’s agency, the brand was number seven in the intensely competitive hot sauce category. Spitball helped take Cholula to number three, just behind the category behemoths with just a fraction of the budget.