This post is from guest blogger Brian Gainor:
Who is the "Most Wanted Man" in sports? While some would argue that it is Manny Ramirez or Jake Peavy, team/stadium personnel across the nation have been trying to track down a "different" public figure... the Bacon Salt Boy.
The founders of J&D's Bacon Salt(a company whose mission is to make everything in the world taste like bacon) have created an incredible guerrilla marketing/viral campaign around the Bacon Salt Boy, an employee suited up in a bacon outfit that makes public appearances at high-profile sporting events. To drive brand awareness/trial for the company's fat free, zero calorie Bacon Salt product, Bacon Salt Boy takes pictures, distributes samples and branded beer cozies, and schmoozes with fans during tailgates and inside the stadium gates. Sounds like a great idea, right?
Unfortunately, Bacon Salt Boy's guerrilla marketing tactics are widely frowned upon by sports organizations. Teams often have corporate partners that offer competitive products and such guerrilla marketing tactics can prevent sports properties from earning large sums of money from on-site marketing/sampling rights.
Adweek recently profiled how Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow, the founders of J&D's Bacon Salt, have built a bustling business that has sold 600,000 units of bacon salt in just 18 months. The company has mastered the art of using online social media to drive brand affinity. In July 2007, the company's two founders befriended 37,000 members on MySpace who used the term "bacon" in their profiles. Since then, the brand has become a hit with consumers (one post about Bacon Salt on Phog.net, a message board for University of Kansas sports fans, drew over 2,000 comments from users).
After doing some research, it turns out that the Bacon Salt Boy has been making appearances at numerous sporting events across the country and his journey doesn't seem to be over just yet. Each of the Bacon Salt Boy's stops are profiled on the company's Flickr.com and YouTube sites. His ’08 sports expedition has included appearances at:
• New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos: 10.20.2008
• New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers: 10.19.2008
• Boston College vs. Virginia Tech: 10.18.2008
• Penn State vs. Michigan: 10.18.2008
• Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers: 10.14.2008
• Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns: 9.28.2008
• Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers: 9.27.2008
Keep a lookout for the Bacon Salt Boy and his Baconnaise counterpart at upcoming sporting events!
Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com