Nike, Budweiser, Uber and more celebrate Cubs’ World Series win

The Chicago baseball team won its first championship in 108 years, but they weren’t the only ones celebrating. Here’s how marketers embraced the victory.

“No, Cubs fans! You weren’t dreaming!” reads part of Major League Baseball’s tweet Thursday morning.

Fans of the Chicago Cubs are still rejoicing after the team ended its 108-year drought by winning the 2016 World Series, outlasting the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night in an epic struggle that featured a rain delay and extra-innings heroics by both teams.

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ABC 7 in Chicago helped put the long-overdue win in perspective:

Twenty-one other teams had won the World Series since Cubs last were champions. They reached the top again on the 39,466th day after Orval Overall’s three-hit shutout won the 1908 finale at Detroit in a game that took 1:24. At the time, Theodore Roosevelt was president, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states, and the first Ford Model T car was two weeks old.

Chicago Tonight reported record ratings as baseball fans tuned in to watch the World Series play out:

[Game 1] was the highest-rated World Series opener since the Yankees-Phillies opener in 2009, Ecker reports. In Chicago the game earned a 34.1 TV rating, meaning some 1.2 million households tuned in to Fox to watch the game. In Cleveland the game pulled a 46.5, on par with ratings for recent NBA Finals games featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Brands pile on in celebration

Cubs players and fans had plenty of company in rejoicing over the win.

News media outlets rushed to share special Cubs editions or stories with readers:

The team’s sponsors were ready for their time to shine, too. Budweiser took the nostalgic route, airing a 1984 commercial featuring Harry Caray:

Advertising Age reported:

In addition to returning advertisers like Chevrolet, Geico, Samsung Mobile, Anheuser-Busch, MasterCard and Taco Bell, the latter of which will reprise its popular “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promotion, Fox has reassigned two of its marquee sponsorship positions. Lincoln Motor Co. steps in as the new pre-game sponsor, and for the first time in 69-year history of World Series TV broadcasts, the Fall Classic will boast an official presenting sponsor in T-Mobile. (There is no official postgame sponsor; somewhat of a departure from its previous deal with Chevrolet, Fox will use the postgame interval as a means to promote its freshman drama “Lethal Weapon.”)

Non-sponsor brand managers also jumped at the opportunity to ride the Cubs’ coattails.

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The Drum reported:

The big sports names got in on the action as well. Starting with the National League Division Series, Adidas ran a digital campaign where they promoted the “#$@& Curses” in reference to the billy goat curse of the Cubs. According to Cubs’ legend, the curse of the billy goat occurred when Chicago resident William Sianis’ goat, Murphy, was not allowed inside Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the 1945 World Series. Sianis cursed the Cubs by saying they would not win that Series or any in the future.

The Drum reported:

Nike joined the Cubs conversation as well with their “Make Someday Today” ads that they plastered all around Wrigleyville, as well as took to social media. That slogan coupled with the typical Nike swoosh instill the brand’s esthetic, to just do it.

The spot garnered Nike a lot of love online:

Those lucky enough to attend the game on Oct. 28 were offered free Uber rides, courtesy of Jim Beam. Adweek reported that the whiskey brand teamed up with the ride-hailing service to cover up to $20 off for 10,000 rides.

“We take care of family and with a historic moment like this, we want to be sure that Chicago sports fans get home safely,” Jim Beam’s master distiller and brand ambassador said.

Chicago-based companies prominently rode the bandwagon.

One pizzeria offered a winner free pizza for a lifetime. Hungry fans entered by ordering online and entering code “CHAMPIONS,” or entering via the restaurant’s website.

Giordano’s president and chief executive, Yorgo Koutsogiorgas, said in a press release:

We feel a bond with the Chicago Cubs. Giordano’s and the Cubs are iconic Chicago brands, committed to serving the greater Chicago community while rooted in family. Both brands continue to build upon their strong and unwavering fan base.

The Candy Industry blog reported that Fannie May—a company that sponsors the Bleachers Suite, Wrigley Field’s biggest luxury suite—offered Cubs-themed chocolates:

Watching winning sports teams, of course, can make one have the munchies. Enter Fannie May. To ease those ninth-inning jitters — be it to save a game or fuel a rally — the company introduced a 7-oz. Wrigley Field Mix, which includes Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeyes, Milk Chocolate Hot Fudge Truffles, Dark Chocolate Toasted Marshmallow and Milk Chocolate Caramel Presents. They also have a 2-oz. Cubbies Milk Chocolate Bar.

Several brand managers tweeted their support (or thinly veiled newsjacking attempts), too:

Topics: PR

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