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MHD Group Proves Itself the Real Golden State Warriors MVP

How do you get basketball fans to tear their eyes away from mid-court to notice billboard advertising for a supermarket chain? Daunting as it may sound, that was the dilemma faced by California’s Lucky Supermarkets when they decided to advertise in a section of the Golden State Warriors’ home stadium, Oracle Arena.

An effective campaign had to capture the excitement of the 2015 NBA Champion Warriors while paying homage to Lucky Supermarkets’ fresh food appeal. Lucky’s parent company Save Mart Supermarkets turned to Modesto’s MHD [Marcia Herrmann Design] Group to come up with a slam-dunk solution.

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Campaign of Champions
MHD Group first started working with Save Mart Supermarkets in early 2015 on such elements as branding, campaign development and point-of-sale design. “We do a lot of their in-store POS branding,” says MHD Group Founder and Creative Director Marcia Herrmann. “From holiday campaigns to mid-season campaigns, outdoor advertising — anything they’re trying to promote in-store for the customer.”

After the Lucky Supermarkets rebrand was rolled out, the Save Mart Companies felt that the Warriors’ home arena presented a good opportunity to promote the store’s logo and imaging. In an area of the arena called Club 200, they were tasked with creating promotional material for several large billboards, two elevator doors, an escalator area, two huge posters, digital displays and a video kiosk.

To brush up on the project, the design team, already fans, attended some of the 2015 NBA Champions’ games to determine the best way to effectively communicate the message.

Their first idea was to use images of the players, but that wasn’t possible under NBA guidelines. So they decided instead to capitalize on the players’ personalities, coming up with clever taglines that related their achievements on the court to qualities of food. For example, a banner featuring the name of NBA Most Valuable Player Steph Curry, who is known for being a healthy lifestyle advocate, displayed a picture of a plate of fresh vegetables with the tagline, “More Veggies Please (MVP).” Along the same lines, a banner featuring Andre Iguodala, known for his dunking ability, showcased a cookie being dunked in a glass of milk, with the tagline, “Sweet Slam Dunk.”

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Where Two Worlds Meet
Images played a huge role in tying the different elements of the campaign together. While the banners celebrated the players, the goal was to make Warriors fans hungry to learn about the culture of Lucky and its stores. To do that, it was important to showcase mouthwatering images of foods ranging from noodles to ice cream to steak.

The existing tagline for the campaign, “Eat Like Warriors,” suggested that fans could emulate their favorite players by shopping at Lucky Supermarkets. “I think it helped to bring two different worlds together: the supermarket world and the sports world,” says Maria Carlson, who handles marketing and web development for MHD Group.

One challenge they faced was adapting the campaign’s message to the LED display. Colors can look one way in print and entirely different on large digital displays. MHD Group noticed that the color purple used in the background didn’t look the way they thought it would on the display. In addition, the word “Lucky” didn’t feature as prominently in the LED banner as they would have liked. A small adjustment made all the difference. “We switched to blues and reds,” Herrmann explains. “We were able to change the look and the feel. It made everything translate stronger.”

Golden State Warriors fans are accustomed to winning, so they know a successful campaign when they see one. The Lucky Supermarket initiative resonated with its intended audience and received plenty of positive feedback.

“People could tell that we knew the players,” says Herrmann. “The fact that we could translate those players’ personalities and still make it relate to food was a win-win for everybody.”

Which, of course, is the mark of a true MVP.

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Author: Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a freelance writer and editor who has written extensively about business, careers and success for such publications as Working Mother, Real Simple, and AARP Bulletin.

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