It hasn’t gotten a huge amount of play sandwiched in between the MLB All-Star leadup, NBA free agent madness, the lull after EURO2012 and the Canada Day and Independence Day holidays in North America, but Major League Soccer launched a very smart and infinitely growable platform this week with “Food Week.”
Done almost totally as a digital play, “Food Week,” has taken fans into the best places to eat around MLS Cities, spent time with players and their pre-match eating habits, talked to trainers about proper eating habits, even visited fans with their tailgate rituals and recipies, with each day building on the next. The placement was very well spread around the league, and it ties very nicely into the beginning of summer and all the thoughts that have gone into activity and healthy eating for a demo that thrives online. It’s simplicity makes it a very easy niche to copy and expand upon for teams, athletes and youth organizations, a great test case for a very sellable platform.
Sellable how? A host of brands, from nutrition partners to CPG brands already part of the MLS famility can build contests year round leading to “Food Week.” Education programs can tie in as the school year ends, with local incentives for students to contribute. Their is a huge video component that can host fan-created themes. The cookbook is always a great added value sales tool for fans, whether it is done by players and coaches or by wives, families and girlfriends, it is always a nice slice of life inside players lives. Also let’s not forget the huge Hispanic population that follows MLS, and the need for education in healthy eating habits. “Food Week” is the perfect entree into that demo as well, along with a look at all the other multi-national followers and expats who call MLS their favorite American sports league. Lastly let’s not forget the grassroots and the constant beating of the drum for healthy eating habits among the young. Few sports have grown from the grassroots like MLS has, and “Food Week” provides another engagement platform through soccer to speak to healthy living habits to millions of kids.
There is nothing glitzy or glamorous about the promotion this year. It is a solid test to continue to grow and expand, with health and fun as its core. It is a clear message that all can relate to, and for that MLS deserves some solid points for again innovating and leading with a solid effort that makes sense for all its fans.