Baseball, peanuts, and...crickets? Inside the Terminix Tasties campaign

The pest control company got locals' attention when it gave away barbecued bugs at minor league baseball games.

Company: Terminix Service
Campaign: Terminix Tasties
Agency: Rawle Murdy
Duration: June-August 2018

Forget the peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Smokey BBQ-flavored crickets might be coming to a baseball game near you.

Pest control company Terminix Service got the attention of consumers over the summer when it served up free crickets as snacks at home games for the Columbia Fireflies, a minor league baseball team based in Columbia, South Carolina.

Planning for the campaign began in November 2017. One of its main goals was to position Terminix Service not just as an exterminator, but as an authority on all bug-related matters, said Sebastian Hale, a senior accountant executive at Rawle Murdy, Terminix Service’s agency partner.

Terminix Service is Terminix International’s largest franchisee, with locations in South Carolina, western North Carolina, and the central Savannah River area of Georgia. Terminix International is a subsidiary of the publicly traded ServiceMaster.

In the past, Terminix Service has struggled to catch the attention of local media outlets. A central aim was to showcase Terminix employees’ value as expert sources.

"A lot of newspapers do not source public companies for their insights," Hale said. "We try our best to get them in front of different reporters and editors by pitching their expertise. That’s a challenge this promotion allowed us to solve."

Because Terminix is a regional operation, it searched for local activities enjoyed by residents in South Carolina to spotlight the company’s institutional knowledge, ultimately combining two: Barbeques and baseball.

Terminix reached out to the Fireflies and partnered with them to serve up barbecue-flavored roasted crickets at Spirit Communications Park home games on June 10, July 22, and August 12.

The effort was initially conceived as a PR campaign, but grew to include a variety of creative assets. In addition to social media posts, press materials, and outreach, Rawle Murdy secured all creative assets: a kiosk, "I ate a bug" stickers, and BBQ crickets, which were wrapped in "100% pure insect" packaging designed by the agency.

Before each game, Rawle Murdy created an event page on Facebook to promote the arthropod snacks, and sent out press materials to local media outlets, which resulted in several pre-game stories.

At the stadium, fans were alerted to the existence and location of the kiosk via the intercom. Once there, they were greeted by a certified Terminix entomologist, who, in addition to distributing the BBQ-flavored cricket packets, fielded bug-related questions.

For Terminix, it was a good way to engage with "captive customers who are in its service territory," while presenting the brand as the authority on all things bugs, Hale explained.

"We wanted to show that the company is about a lot more than just killing bugs," he said.

Terminix handed out 1,500 cricket packages and more than 1,000 stickers. Eight regional news outlets covered the brand’s effort, including ABC Columbia and WLTX. The latter segment aired to a viewership of about 350,000.

Based on results, Terminix plans to partner with another minor league baseball team next summer, where it will hand out more insect game-day snacks -- exact species TBD.

Business results were not disclosed.

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