Louisville Slugger gets competitive with online batting contest

Lanctôt Ltée, the Canadian distributor of Louisville Slugger sports equipment, is promoting the new Z-3000 slow-pitch bat with “The Priceless Bat Competition,” an online batting contest where the user actually decides the price they’ll pay for the bat, based on how far they can hit a virtual ball. By using a smartphone as a bat […]

Lanctôt Ltée, the Canadian distributor of Louisville Slugger sports equipment, is promoting the new Z-3000 slow-pitch bat with “The Priceless Bat Competition,” an online batting contest where the user actually decides the price they’ll pay for the bat, based on how far they can hit a virtual ball.

By using a smartphone as a bat and a desktop computer as the diamond, players take swings at virtual pitches. The farther the batter hits the ball, the less they’ll end up paying for the Z-3000.

Lanctôt Ltée approached creative agency Taxi looking for an innovative marketing approach, said Darren Clarke, executive creative director at the agency. The site took six months to develop, and the most challenging part was making sure the accelerometer (the motion detector in smartphones) would sync up and work with the computer screen.

To make the game seem as lifelike as possible, Taxi did a live action shoot with an actual pitcher and batter, and Clarke said this type of execution is a first for both the brand and agency.

“We didn’t want this to feel like a game of Pacman. We wanted to make it feel like a live demo so there is some skill to it,” Clarke said. “There was already some anticipated demand for this bat and we wanted to figure out a way to get this bat into people’s hands before it was available. We wanted to come up with a fresh new way to get people excited about something and do this digitally to see if it could all live online. We hadn’t seen that before, where you could demo a product that wasn’t available yet.”

Visitors to ThePricelessBat.com are greeted by text that says “This is the new Z-3000. It doesn’t have a price yet. We want your swing to decide that. It’s simple: we’ll turn your phone into a bat and your computer screen into a field. The farther you hit the less you’ll pay. But you won’t be the only batter competing, so you’ll have to defend your price. Good luck.”

According to Clarke, the bat is targeted at both recreational and professional softball players, so the text was crafted to “play into the competitive mentality of these players.”

Once users log in, they receive codes for their phone and browser to sync up with their computer. A picture of a bat then appears on their smartphone screen, as if the user were holding an actual bat in their hands. When ready, batters get three chances to hit the ball as far as possible.

The game uses the best hit as the high score, and then provides batters with their price. Players are then invited to come back each day to protect their price – two people cannot share the same one. When the contest ends next month, users will be e-mailed a coupon from the distributor which can be redeemed in-store.

Taxi is promoting “The Priceless Bat” with display banners on targeted sites and online forums, along with in-store activation at sporting goods stores across Canada.

“The Priceless Bat Competition” launched two weeks ago and will run for six weeks. The Z-3000 bat is in stores now and retails for $299.99.

Brands Articles

Your Marketing newsletters are changing

The Marketing Morning Filter is ending, but other newsletters are set to return

The List: North Strategic’s very big year

Prior to being picked up by MSLGroup, the PR shop brought in 15 new client wins

The biggest stories in Canadian marketing: 2016

A look back at the most read and shared news items from MarketingMag.ca

Media Profile teams with global PR group

PRGN welcomes Toronto agency as first Canadian partner

Stereo+ unveils brand overhaul from Lg2boutique

How to to introduce a 35-year-old chain to younger shoppers

The List: Wattpad’s evolving influence

The first of our selections for the biggest newsmakers of 2016

Sears Canada takes a gamble on groceries

Losses more than double in Q3 report, but food markets set to arrive

Big opportunities await in the new age of CSR (column)

Overwhelmed consumers want to outsource their consciences, but it requires deep trust

Mintel predicts packaging trends for 2017

Research firm says intelligent, experiential packaging will lead consumer experiences