Let's Keep It Clean: Church & Dwight Signs Three-Year Deal As MLB Corporate Sponsor
Packaged-goods marketer Church & Dwight has signed a three-year deal as MLB's newest corporate sponsor. C&D, which gets rights across the laundry, pet care and oral care categories, will use its MLB rights principally to market its various Arm & Hammer and OxiClean laundry products. New Jersey-based C&D has also signed team sponsorship deals with the Twins and Reds, not coincidentally the site of the next two MLB All-Star Games. That suggests that marketing around those events will be an important part of this sponsorship platform. There is also a team deal with the Yankees that includes C&D branding in the photo well adjacent to the dugout. "We wanted a sport that covers most of the year and talks to the whole family," said C&D Chair & CEO Jim Craigie, who previously was CEO of both Top-Flite Golf and Spalding. "Baseball is about families having fun, going out to play and getting dirty. How do they get their baseball clothes clean? With our products, so it's a totally natural tie-that reinforces the equities of both brands." Activation will include national TV ads with MLB rightsholders and a sweepstakes overlay offering ASG tickets. There is also a licensing tie-in, as C&D will get hang tags on MLB-licensed apparel. MLB marks will also appear on C&D packaging. The deal with the Reds is particularly intriguing, since it includes a large outfield sign at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, the corporate home of C&D rival Procter & Gamble. Another interesting factor to consider: P&G has been an MLB sponsor since '11, with a large baseball-themed effort behind its Head & Shoulders shampoo brand.
RIGHT UP THEIR ALLEY: GroupM's Maxus ESP negotiated the rights deals for C&D, while MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan and VP/National Sales Chris Marciani were key figures for MLB in selling its first sponsorship since recently signing Target (a large retailer of C&D products) to a deal which included All-Star Game rights. "This is the kind of partnership we look for," Brosnan said. "It is important for us to be at retail with partners like this and remind people of baseball's presence by coupling our brands." While core MLB fans are not necessarily C&D's biggest consumers, what is easily the company's sports-marketing expenditure is designed to generate incremental display and sales at the company's biggest retailers. Since late '12, C&D has entitled the home of the Double-A Eastern League Trenton Thunder, Arm & Hammer Park.