VIVA Highlights Long-Term Partnership with Washington Nationals
In baseball, when the game is on the line, you call in your best trusted closer. For the Washington Nationals marketing team, they needed a proven winner.
The Nationals called up VIVA Creative after the marketing agency successfully helped the pro team redesign and rethink their stadium naming rights strategy in 2017, which included video production. Their new marketing challenge was to sell single-game tickets instead of season ticket plans as high-profile stars, like Bryce Harper, neared the end of their professional contracts with potential for renewal.
VIVA stepped up to the plate by performing market research on season ticket plan demographics and potential reach into new markets. The solution was 8 30-second scripted broadcast spots that highlighted the ballpark experience.
“There weren’t just spots showing highlights of baseball games,” said producer John Bradley. “There are actually stories behind them. They … wanted to sell the experience of going to the ballpark. This is the place to be.”
Coincidentally, “This is your place” became the name of the first campaign in 2018. The broadcast strategy considered the experience beyond watching high-profile players. It accounted for the food and drink, activities like playgrounds and photobooths, and custom fan areas like the Red Porch and Bud Light Loft.
“It’s like buying a ticket to Kings Dominion or to see a movie,” director Justin Toops said. “It’s an attraction where you can … be social and take in an event. This is your place for entertainment, for family time, for personal conversations with friends, [or] for happy hour after work.”
After the success of these commercials, VIVA Creative revamped the campaign in 2019 to meet the new marketing goals of an interim CMO. This new campaign required 18 30-second spots for air and 18 15-second spots for broadcast and social media.
The new challenge was a higher volume of spots on multiple platforms with new subject matter. Yet, it had the same budget and production time as the previous campaign. The VIVA team came up with The National Monologues, which were commercials with a male and female spokesperson who play passionate superfans talking directly to the camera.
“To get 18 spots, we had to be very strategic in how we schedule our days and what blocks of the script we’re shooting at what times,” John said.
The team first identified which parts of Nationals Park were attractive for commercial and chose the team store, concessions, restaurant and bar areas, and the famous front gates. They then developed messaging through hundreds of scripts and blended the Nationals brand with VIVA project quality. After 4 days of an extensive casting search in the local comedy and theater scenes, they found spokespeople and notified other VIVA team members for wardrobe, prop, and background needs.
Within only a couple days of shooting, VIVA again captured the essence of a Washington Nationals ballpark experience through the eyes of its beloved fans.
“You’re trying to be funny and get good quality and do high production value,” Justin said. “Usually, something has to go. [With VIVA], every single spot was really thought out to try to give the client as much production value and quality as we could.
You … get so much enjoyment out of [each commercial]. It doesn’t feel like it was one of 9 spots filmed over 2 days with the same actor.”
“We knock it out of the park every time,” John added. “Pun intended.”