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Gold Partnering Changing Behaviour

Expedia

"Expedia Blue Jays"

(Grip Limited)

Expedia.ca had been a long time sponsor of the Toronto Blue Jays, placing the value of the partnership on being able to deliver low cost impressions in the GTA. And while Jays fans are loyal, passionate followers of their team, brand loyalty isn’t automatically transferred to the team’s sponsors. To truly matter to fans, Expedia needed to provide actual value that would better its connection with the team.

Despite eight years of loyal partnership with the Jays, the brand didn’t offer a centralized source where fans could seamlessly book a complete Jays away game package with flight, hotel and tickets. So, after years of simply satisfying the sponsorship status quo, the brand challenged itself to find greater meaning and potential for the partnership, with ambitions beyond just a low CPM. The objectives were to deliver greater return on the sponsorship investment, and to build affinity and stronger connections with fans at every consumer touch point.

Expedia.ca’s brand purpose is to revolutionize travel through the power of technology, so more people can enjoy a world of rich experiences. Building off this foundation, agency Grip looked for natural ways to enrich the Jays partnership and provide greater value to the fans.

Based on Mintel’s Travel Report, the team knew that 58% of Canadians look to take a short trip in the summer and that city-based experiences ranked as the #2 reason for travel. They also found strong parallels between Expedia.ca’s key package markets and destinations for Jays away games. And without a centralized way to easily plan and book an away game getaway, the agency recognized what it needed to do in order to deliver against the brand’s purpose and new partnership objectives: empower fans on a journey that would get them closer to the team they love by creating a new way to join the Jays on the road.

It began with re-engineering the site: the agency built an intuitive, simplified experience, where packages could be tailored to any away game by combining flight, hotel, transfer and game tickets. The team developed the functionality so that fans could sort trips based on a number of factors including, dates by upcoming series, hotels by proximity to the ballparks, and best value based on package savings.

The brand targeted communications to baseball fans only and used each medium carefully to impart the right message, at the right time. The team tested versions and optimized toward what was resonating most with fans. And through significant re‐targeting efforts, fans that were served a piece of creative in one channel were also served a complimentary asset in another channel, showcasing deals to Join the Jays on the road for the next away series. With every ad exposure, the team was able to bring customers further down the consumer funnel and closer to getting away with the team.

The partnership results exceeded expectations across the board. IMI International reported an 88% year-over-year increase in sponsorship awareness and highlighted that 67% of Jays fans would now consider Expedia.ca when booking travel. Google brand search of Expedia, plus The Toronto Blue Jays (or some combination thereof) increased by 1,768% year-over-year.

More importantly, the brand created a better way for fans to follow the Jays. The landing page received 100,750 unique visitors and transactions grew by 2.4%. Gross booking value on the Jays landing page was 12% higher than the average package booked on the homepage.

Credits

Advertiser: Expedia

Senior Director of Marketing: Christopher Day

Director of Marketing: Jennifer Callegaro

Senior Marketing Manager: Adam Francis

Social Media Manager: Gianni Santin

Agency: Grip Limited

CDs: David Chiavegato, Rich Pryce-Jones

ACDs: Trevor Gourley, Julia Morra

Agency Producer: Tricia Lapidario

Group Account Director: Martin McClorey

Account Director: Justine Leetham

Account Manager: Ben Soja

Account Coordinator: Sarah Vandersluis

Social Media Manager: Chelsea Thompson-O'Brien

Interactive Producer: Nicole Black

Production Company: Skin and Bones

Director: Matt Swanson

Line Producer: Dwight Phipps

Editing: Grip Sound & Picture

Editor: Duane Vandermeulen

Online: The Juggernaut

CG Artist: James Hawkins


Have questions? Need help?
Contact Zoe Sherwood at 416.408.2300 EXT 237 or zsherwood@brunico.com.