Archive for July, 2014

The All-Star Treatment from Nike

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Nike ASG

Fans from all over the country flocked to Minneapolis in mid-July to watch the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Between Yankees legend Derek Jeter’s last appearance and a city with such passion for the sport, the energy was palpable in the Twin Cities.

Nike was right in the middle of the action, spreading their “Future Gets Faster” message through events for young athletes and the launch of the Nike Lunar Vapor Spectrum Collection. Over the course of two days during All-Star Game week, Nike gave Minneapolis-area youth baseball athletes the opportunity to learn, train and compete, and fans of the game got some love as well.

On Monday, July 14 Nike’s Future Gets Faster baseball competition provided all-star treatment to two age groups of 220 elite athletes at Cretin-Derham Hall (Twins star Joe Mauer’s high school). The players tested their speed in running, swinging and fielding – highlighting the importance of speed in the game. Between high school and youth sessions, the young athletes got a surprise visit from Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder all-star Carlos Gomez. At the end of each age group’s session, the athletes competed for a spot in a homerun derby (complete with fireworks, of course). After their competition sessions ended, the athletes checked out the new Nike Lunar Vapor Trout cleat, which they would see on Angels all-star Mike Trout during the All-Star game the following day.

That same day, baseball fans at the Nike Mall of America store reaped the rewards of their scavenger hunting skills with a VIP athlete Q&A experience with St. Louis Cardinals all-star Matt Carpenter. The day before, Carpenter released a tweet with clues for fans to find, photograph and tweet – all clues could be found in Mall of America. Fans who completed the hunt were rewarded with a VIP bracelet to come back to the Nike store the next morning for the Q&A. Carpenter shared his philosophy on work ethic and his appreciation for his teammates.

On Tuesday, All-Star Gameday, 20 elite high school baseball players were invited to a true insider experience to learn what it takes to develop the incredible speed that Mike Trout is known for. At the Train Like Trout event, Nike treated athletes to a full VIP experience with locker set-ups complete with apparel and footwear. After gearing up, Trout’s own personal trainer, Dan Richter, led the athletes through a full workout of speed and strengthening drills. Once the workout was over, a healthy-food truck pulled up, and athletes enjoyed a premium viewing experience for the All-Star Game, as they watched Mike Trout’s American League team kill it.

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Blogs Are Better Than Banner Ads

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hj 2Photos courtesy of DustinNikki Mommy of Three, Wannabite,

After working in advertising for the better part of 10 years, I’m still amazed that people click on banner ads. I mean – really – who clicks on those ads for “Hot Singles in Your Area”? Instead of spending money on another media buy with a 1% click-thru, I decided to check out a different form of advertising that is much more subtle … and also more effective.

(First: a disclaimer. In addition to my work at MKTG INC, I’m also a blogger at Blogger marketing is an evolving form of word-of-mouth marketing, and bloggers have a built-in audience that trusts them and seeks out their opinion on products and services.

At MKTG INC, we have partnered with bloggers on a variety of programs, from toilet paper to hair color, to find out what real women think of these products. At Food Hussy, I’ve done campaigns for deli meats, vacation destinations, restaurants and more.

I love that every blogger puts their own spin on a product and can create new uses for your product. Most people think of Dr. Pepper as a drink, but this blogger used it in a recipe. You may not regularly drink Dr. Pepper – but can you honestly say you don’t want to try a Dr. Pepper Donut?

The question is – does it work? The proof is in the pudding. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented that they tried something after I shared it. Recently my husband was at an event I had promoted and someone came up to him and said, “Hey – I know you – you’re the husband of the Food Hussy!” Turns out, they not only recognized him from my blog, but they purchased tickets for the event because of my post.

Bloggers are influencers who have a built-in trust factor and an audience. By working with them, you’re getting an honest opinion on what you have to offer that is then shared with all of their online “friends” – which goes a lot further than a simple banner ad.

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A World Class Event for MKTG INC

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At MKTG INC, we pride ourselves on executing world-class events – but this time, the event was actually World Class.

Earlier this summer, the national finals of the USBG World Class Bartender Competition were held in NYC at the Monarch Room’s Gilded Lily, and MKTG INC was there to make sure it went off without a hitch!

The NYC Final was the culmination of the 2014 US World Class program. Presented by the US Bartenders Guild and sponsored by Diageo, 75 top bartenders competed in 5 regional finals in Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, Atlanta and Chicago. The top 3 from each region were chosen to move on to the national finals in NYC for a total of 15 national finalists.

In all stages of the program, nationally and internationally recognized industry luminaries served as judges. The competition challenges tested all aspects of the bartenders’ abilities, from speed and efficiency to presentation, creativity and service, using brands from the Diageo Reserve portfolio.

From the regionals to the finals, MKTG INC worked closely with Diageo, the US Bartenders Guild, Liquid Productions and all the judges and competitors to ensure that the program was executed within World Class standards.

Charles Joly from Chicago was named the World Class US Bartender of the Year and will represent the US in the Global Finals in the UK starting July 27th. He will be competing against bartenders from 49 other countries and the global winner will be named in London on Aug 2nd.

The Diageo World Class competition is considered “the best” in the industry and is in its 6th year globally with 50 countries competing each year. This is the 3rd year that the US has participated, with US winners Ricky Gomez placing 5th globally in 2012 and Jeff Bell placing 2nd globally in 2013.

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All-Star Game Raises a Cap to the Captain

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Photo credit:

Photo credit:

This year, the MLB All-Star Game descended on a sparkling new Target Field in the heart of the Twin Cities. Ironically, a game that was supposed to be “twin-centric” ended up being all about one man, of which there is no duplicate: Derek Jeter.

That’s right. There is only one Derek Jeter and in his final Midsummer Classic, the slender 40-year-old shortstop took center stage in the friendly confines of Minnesota. From the very first play (an impressive diving stop) to the last out, DJ owned the moment, just as he has his entire 20-year career.

The American League would go on to win for the second year in a row with the help of rising star and game MVP, Mike Trout, of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Trout, only 22 years old, is part of a young dynamic core that represent baseball’s bright future. Of course, who can forget Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu and 2014 Home Run Derby Champ, Yoenis Cespedes? These three Cuban superstars have stormed onto the international stage with their dynamic defense, powerful throws, towering home runs and glittering earrings. Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, who many believe could be the greatest hitter of the new age, sent a baseball deep into the third deck during the HR Derby, wowing all who saw. Not since Reggie Jackson has one hitter so impressed an All-Star Game crowd.

And so it’s true … a game that was as much about saying goodbye to one man also served as a welcome party for the game’s latest and greatest, all of whom expect to follow in Jeter’s storied footsteps.

Unlike the Olympics, baseball has no torch. No literal fire to bestow to the next generation of stars. Nonetheless, after this, one of the most memorable All-Star Games in recent memory, you can rest assured that the torch has been passed.

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Written by Andrew Canlon
Andrew Canlon

July 22nd, 2014 at 4:38 pm

What’s in Your Wallet?

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KK Business Card

Have you looked at your business card recently? If not you should. MKTG INC’s cards are known for their unique perspective and purpose (the latter being expressly to embarrass their bearer, natch). In our new column Business Cards Explained, we take a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hear the stories behind them. Get ready to blush.

Growing up, Katie wanted to play second base for the Cleveland Indians.
True statement. The baseball references throughout the copy come from a previous job working for the Chicago White Sox, but they seem to work with the PR analogies. But as an Indians fan growing up, my favorite thing in the world was watching Robbie Alomar man the infield. Boy, was he great. Luckily, I had the chance to tell that to his face a few years ago.

Unfortunately for her, she didn’t make the cut – but fortunately for us, she’s an All-Star communicator and a five-tool player.
I recall my father – who was also my softball coach for my short-lived career when I was in grade school – saying that I was the worst player he’d ever seen. He denies ever saying it, but I don’t think I could make that stuff up. That’s why I ended up in journalism, and not on an athletic scholarship.

She can pitch, she can deliver a hit and she’s always got her head in the game.
I’m in PR! I can pitch a story, I can deliver coverage and I’m always focused on what’s next.

From the first pitch to the final out, Katie’s always going the distance.
Again with the baseball puns. They used to drive me insane, but now that I’m a little further away from the game I think they’re funny. I can’t stop the fact that I still speak baseball.

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Johnnie Walker to U.S. Soccer Team: Keep Kicking!

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Photo courtesy of @alebedoya17 via Instagram.

Photo courtesy of @alebedoya17 via Instagram.

The US Men’s National Soccer Team arrived in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup as part of the “Group of Death” (contrary to initial reactions, not a heavy metal group) facing soccer royalty in the form of Portugal, Germany and Ghana. After an impressive showing that included defeating Ghana, the team that had eliminated them from the championship in South Africa in 2010, and facing Germany, currently reigning as the world champs for the next four years, they squeaked through to the first knockout round (the Round of 16) – a feat that they’ve only accomplished five times in the tournament’s 84-year history.

Though our men were eventually eliminated by Belgium and returned home on July 3, they didn’t leave Brazil empty-handed. Alejandro “Ale” Bedoya, a brand-new member of the USMNT, who made his World Cup debut this year, gifted each member of the 23-man team with a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, engraved with the message “Brazil was just the beginning. Keep Walking.” – a fitting tribute to a team who inspired millions of Americans to chant “I believe that we will win.”

Not only was the advance to the Round of 16 “an epic achievement,” as Bedoya said, but the 2014 World Cup set the bar higher than ever for American engagement with the quadrennial event – an estimated 26.5 million people in the U.S. watched the Cup’s final (1.8 million more than the final between Spain and the Netherlands four years earlier).

The World Cup has officially been passed to Russia for 2018, and millions around the world are dealing with a bit of withdrawal without three matches per day to watch on their desktop monitors during work. However, with U.S. soccer die-hards inspired and a slew of brand-new fans watching, it’s safe to say that we will all be waiting with bated breath to see Ale Bedoya and his teammates’ next steps.

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MKTG Grows Hope With MSNBC

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MSNBC is more than a cable news channel. It not only champions progressive issues and values, it seeks to directly engage with its viewers and their communities. So this year MSNBC launched Growing Hope – a campaign inspired in part by MKTG’s design for the channel at last year’s Essence Festival – to give people a voice around the issues that matter to them.

As developed by MKTG, the spirit of Growing Hope is embodied by a community garden, a place where people come together to nurture and grow. The symbol of Growing Hope is a grand solitary tree, evidence of the power and possibilities of voices united.

Visitors begin their experience in our digital greenhouse, where they choose the topic that directly impacts their families and communities, and write their hope for change. Issues include: Education, Economy, Equality, Health & Environment, Community, as well as Veterans and Foreign Affairs. Next, visitors print their hope (now entered into MSNBC’s database), attach it to a flower petal, connect it to a stem and plant it in our outdoor garden – a place where people literally put stakes in the ground.

The Growing Hope Tour began in Houston at Texas Southern University with stops in Atlanta and Charlotte. It culminated in New Orleans at the 20th Annual Essence Festival during Fourth of July weekend.

You can join in the conversation and submit your own hope by clicking here.


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