Taking it to the streets: Minnesota Twins players enjoy Wiffle ball game with fans

The team wanted to do something different to keep press interested heading into the second half of Major League Baseball season.

Company: Minnesota Twins
Campaign: Mall Ball
Agency Mix: Carmichael Lynch Relate (PR), Carmichael Lynch (creative), Street Factory Media (event production)
Duration: July 10, 2018

The Minnesota Twins wanted to keep fans and media excited heading into the second half of the 2018 Major League Baseball season, so the team held an impromptu, open-to-the-public home run derby on one of Minneapolis’ most iconic streets: Nicollet Mall.

The Twins and their PR partner for the campaign, Carmichael Lynch Relate, began planning for the event in early June.

The idea behind the campaign was to create a unique activation that would engage Minnesotans with the sights, sounds, and smells of Minnesota Twins’ home ballpark Target Field and cement Twins games as an essential summer activity.

"The major goal was to get people excited about the Twins heading into the All-Star break and the second half of the season," explained Marty Senn, chief creative officer and managing partner at Carmichael Lynch Relate. "It’s a long season, so we knew we’d have to try something different to give our media outlets a new reason to talk about the Twins and the Target Field experience."

Inspired by backyard baseball pickup games, the brand planned a surprise Wiffle ball home run derby in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. They decided to call the event Mall Ball.

"Instead of targeting the usual sports reporters, we reached out to more lifestyle-focused contacts, general news outlets, and morning shows," added Senn.

The campaign team also partnered with Shaynah Dodge, a local influencer and blogger who boasts 50,000 Instagram followers and is a huge Twins supporter. She also has three sons who play in local little leagues.

On July 9, the campaign team teased the Mall Ball event on Minnesota Twins-branded social channels.

On July 10, the day of the event, the Minnesota Twins used early morning social posts to announce more details about the event and tease some behind-the-scenes visuals of the event development.

The campaign team set up a makeshift diamond on Nicollet Mall, a transit and pedestrian-only thoroughfare, allowing players from the Twins to take to the streets and interact directly with fans. The event included free music, hot dogs, and chips.

The Minnesota Twins alerted media contacts about Mall Ball leading up to the event, inviting press to come early to the event to take some swings alongside Twins players.

"Getting local media excited was a huge push for us, making sure they shared the event with their audiences and could be there to be a part of it," said Senn.

More than 2,200 spectators took part in Mall Ball.

The campaign landed coverage in outlets such as MLB.com, TwinCities.com, Fox Sports North, CBS-Minnesota, and MSN, to name a few. Several outlets even went on to post videos and photos of their own experience at Mall Ball.

All local Twin Cities TV stations covered Mall Ball. In fact, two of the channels covered the event five or more times within 24 hours of the activation. Additionally, the team secured more than 40 media placements within 24 hours of the local activation, including coverage in The Star Tribune.

The brand also gave out more than 1,500 hot dogs, 1,000 bags of chips, and 500 Wiffle balls over the course of the event.

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