#PayEd Kingsford® Charcoal


Get the grilling season started earlier. Kingsford has successfully extended grilling season into fall for football tailgates, but wanted to tackle spring opportunities by inserting the brand into basketball season – without a sponsorship or official connection to the sport.

Real Data

Proprietary segmentation research showed that the people we were trying to reach like to spend time with family and friends, watch sports and swap stories. Research also indicated that grilling is a social activity and that one of the top reasons people get together is for sporting events.

Real Lives

For years, companies have used college players’ names and likenesses to sell their products without compensation. In fact, former basketball star Ed O’Bannon was in the midst of a lawsuit against the NCAA over this very issue. We knew that many sports writers were on O’Bannon’s side, so we thought that showing our support in a unique and entertaining would get Kingsford noticed.

Real Story

We capitalized on the correlation between grilling and sports to light a fire for Kingsford Charcoal during the college basketball crazed month of March. We ignited interest in the brand by leveraging O’Bannon’s cause and created a limited Ed-ition Kingsford bag featuring O’Bannon’s image and the copy “Lights 25% Faster, Doesn’t Burn Athletes.” Timed with the start of the profitable – albeit amateur – basketball tournament, we paid O’Bannon for the use of his name and likeness, created his Twitter presence so he could participate in the conversation, and grilled with him on the first day of the tournament to kick off a media blitz and social campaign. To increase his paycheck, we encouraged fans to #PayEd by purchasing the special Kingsford Charcoal bag on GoFundMe and using the campaign hashtag to trigger a $1 donation.

Real Results

The campaign generated 90 million earned impressions within 24 hours of sharing an image of the limited Ed-ition bag with media. Publications such as ABC Sports Radio, Bleacher Report Radio, FOX Sports, The Associated Press, The Huffington Post, ESPN.com, MSN.com and Yahoo! Sports wrote and tweeted about Kingsford, driving total impressions to 267 million. Additionally, promoted tweets from the #PayEd game day grill-a-thon resulted in a 6.62% engagement rate, outperforming CPG engagement rates and eCPE benchmarks by 1.4x and 1.1x respectively. We scored from a sales perspective too, with the strongest early grilling season sales to date.