If you follow our work, it's no secret that I'm a "baseball guy." In my opinion Major League Baseball Opening Day, by all rights, should be a national holiday. A day to plant yourself at a ballpark or in front of a TV and celebrate the coming of spring with the arrival of our national pastime.
With new leaves on the trees arrives a new seasonal MLB ad. campaign. Each year these efforts are headlined by shiny new assets & eye-popping visuals, but typically lacking the story/"teeth" to truly resonate with current fans and young prospectives. This year, for the first time in as long as I can remember, MLB doubled-down on a preceding season's campaign: "Let the kids play."
With an aging fanbase + facing unprecedented pressure from "faster-paced" and more physical sports (eg. American football), for some time now, baseball has been running uphill. There is something about the melding of the youth & fire of NFL players (its a young man's game) that captivates the hearts of young Americans. MLB sees this and knows this.
Meanwhile, the last several years has seen an unusually number of high-energy, young blood get the call to "The Show" reigniting the "old school" vs. "new school" baseball debate. The first to kick the door down was Bryce Harper, who took the brunt of the traditionalist beating for his unprecedented combination of passionate/emotional, flashy & gritty play. His example has since been followed by a young Astros squad, LA's Yasiel Puig, the Big Apple's Aaron Judge, Atlanta's Ronald Acuna/Ozzie Albies, and so on and so forth...
2018: Enter the "Let the kids play" campaign. A brilliant initiative that saw MLB act on the need to infuse an aging fanbase with a younger audience. They took the risk and boldly scoffed at the "old school" notions of the game embracing the high octane passion of the league's budding stars.
With the success of last season's campaign, MLB has recently launched a "2.0" version for 2019:
Time will tell (and of course content is king), but I for one am down for a second round. To me, this is a winning ideology for MLB and their most likely ticket to connect with Millennials and Gen-Z in the never ending battle for the hearts of fans. #LetTheKidsPlay.
Now with that all being said... can we talk about Bryce's Philly Phanatic-inspired spikes from yesterday?! You've got to make $300 million to pull that off.