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Oberto Aims to Drive Brand Awareness With March Madness Campaign

                                                                                                                                                                        Photo Source: Oberto

The Duke Blue Devils are the victors of Monday’s March Madness championship game, but it’s all-natural jerky company Oberto Brands that’s hoping to leverage the tournament and come out on top with a boost in brand awareness.

Vying for the top spot

According to David Lakey, Oberto’s VP of Marketing, the meat snack provider currently holds the second-seed spot in the jerky category. So the company wanted to find a way to increase brand awareness among its target audience: physically active adults. Knowing that many of its target consumers are college sports fans, Oberto’s marketing team launched a March Madness-inspired campaign in February.

“We want to not only be the top seed but win the championship for the big time” Lakey says. “We’re still building.”

Playing a coordinated game

But in today’s arena, marketers don’t have possession of where and how customers interact with their brand. The team at Oberto determined that if they wanted to remain top of mind, they would have to deploy a multichannel campaign strategy.

“To be effective in creating awareness, we really have to find people in more than one channel,” Lakey says.

Starting with television, Oberto created an ad starring basketball sports analyst and broadcaster Dick Vitale and ESPN host Stephen A. Smith. In the TV spot, Smith serves as a voice inside of Vitale’s stomach that tells him to eat Oberto jerky to satisfy his hunger.


Oberto also carried over Vitale’s presence onto the digital court. For instance, Oberto launched a contest in which participants can submit videos with their best Vitale impression for a chance to win a trip to meet the man himself.

And with each contest entry, Oberto is scoring big.

Participants have to fill out a form on the campaign’s landing page to enter the contest and in the process provide their names, email addresses, and ZIP codes along with their video submissions. Oberto then stores this info into its database, Lakey says, to encourage participation in future contests and events. He says that anyone—at anytime—can opt in to receive updates and offers from Oberto via email when they sign up for the contest.

In addition to the contest, Oberto leveraged digital by sponsoring content and running ads on college sports news website Campus Insiders. The jerky brand also promoted its campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Oberto promoted the campaign offline by featuring point-of-sale displays of Vitale and the contest details at several stores.

Creating all of these engagement opportunities keeps the brand at the forefront of consumers’ minds and inspires repeat and impulse purchases—which is key, Lakey says, given that a 10 ounce bag of the jerky costs about $15. He adds that an omnichannel campaign is also important because it reiterates a brand’s message across touchpoints.

“It’s important to coordinate your digital messages with other types of messages—in our case broadcast television, cable television, [and] social,” he says. “If we attempted to do the digital campaign all by itself, it [would have been] a little difficult to break through. But when it reinforces a message that our target consumer has maybe seen elsewhere—or [maybe] they see it on digital—then they get a reminder while they’re watching a game on TV, and they see a TV ad. The synergy of the two is much stronger.”

Analyzing performance

Lakey says that Oberto intends to analyze third-party research to help measure the success of the campaign by comparing attitudes before and reactions after the campaign. He also notes that the brand will track sales rates, market share, and speed of sales. But given that the tournament just ended this week, Lakey says that it’s too early to determine results.

Rebounding from challenges

Granted, every marketer faces challenges when launching campaigns. But what’s important is how they bounce back. So often, for instance, people try to skew contest results; however, Lakey hopes that requiring people to upload a video of them imitating Vitale will decrease the number of frauds. In addition, he says that getting all channels to work as one team can be difficult.

However, Oberto isn’t letting these opponents block their chances of brand awareness victory. Now that March Madness is over, the jerky brand is sponsoring all of the 2015 Tough Mudder events in the U.S. and Canada. Lakey hopes that partnering with Tough Mudder—an obstacle course provider—will help the brand reach more athletic adults and identify brand influencers. 

Like the March Madness campaign, the Tough Mudder initiative features a TV spot about the “little voice in the stomach” starring athletes—in this case, the 2014 World’s Toughest Mudder Champions Amelia Boone and Ryan Atkins. The brand is also promoting the event on social and will be onsite at the races. Oberto is even sponsoring an obstacle called the “Beached Whale.”

It looks like there’s no off-season for this brand.

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