Briggs & Stratton (B&S), maker of outdoor gas engines and power equipment, aimed to refresh Diamonds in the Rough (DITR), its 6-year-old program for refurbishing youth baseball fields. The company worked with AOR CKPR on a strategy that would generate entrants for the program's annual essay contest, tasking kids to relate baseball to a personal challenge, and reinvigorate the media's interest in the program, with a long-term goal of raising corporate brand awareness.
“We wanted a way to help celebrate our heritage,” says Anita Fisher, marketing communications manager at B&S.
John Feld, account supervisor at CKPR, explains that while the team chose to continue grassroots efforts for the program, it also decided to leverage the positive profile of DITR's celebrity spokesperson, former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez.
The effort came at a time when the Mitchell Report was generating bad press for baseball and Martinez's former teammates, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, but Feld says the controversy aided its charitable endeavor.
To reach kids and community organizations in 20 national markets, the team conducted outreach to parenting and youth outlets and distributed posters to organizations.
The team kicked off the campaign with an SMT just after Pettitte's press conference, followed by a press event at ESPN Zone in Times Square, where Martinez talked about DITR and the steroid controversy. The campaign concluded with a New York City media tour after a winner was chosen.
Florida congressman Bill Young, in support of an anti-bullying bill, read a St. Petersburg Times story – highlighting the winning DITR essay on bullying – to Nancy Pelosi on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The effort saw a 50% increase in media impressions from previous years. Also, for the first time the contest drew international entrants, Feld says.
Fisher says B&S is planning next year's program.
PR team: CKPR and Briggs & Stratton (both Milwaukee)
Campaign: Diamonds in the Rough
Duration: February-June 2008