Six months after acquiring Baton Rouge-based BBQGuys and promising to turn the local online retailer of high-end barbecue grills and outdoor products into a nationally known brand, private equity firm Brand Velocity Partners is launching BBQGuys’ first national marketing and ad campaign, starring Louisiana’s own Archie and Eli Manning.
The Manning family is among the group of high-profile investors who bought into the company last summer in a deal that was estimated to be worth some $140 million and included BBQGuys and its sister company, Blaze Outdoor Products.
Now, Archie and Eli Manning have agreed to serve as the company’s celebrity pitchmen.
BVP declines to discuss what they’re spending on the campaign, but it appears to be significant. A company spokesperson says the campaign will be a fully integrated national campaign that will feature high-impact BBQGuys branding during live sports events throughout the year and include radio and TV ads as well as courtside signage in basketball and behind home plate in baseball.
The campaign also includes agreements with a variety of podcasts in the business, comedy, history, society/culture and sports categories to further raise awareness and sales.
Commercials will start airing as
soon as this week and branded content featuring the Mannings will appear across social and digital channels continuously throughout the year, with added spikes around summer holidays.
Source Communications, a New Jersey-based marketing and ad agency, has been working on the rebranding campaign since BVP acquired BBQGuys last summer. One of BVP’s founding partners, Larry Rothstein, is a national branding expert and also runs Source Communications.
At the time of BVP’s acquisition last year, Stephen Lebowitz, another BVP founding partner, told Business Report that BBQGuys had done a “good job focusing on the bottom of the funnel,” the customers who are already shopping online, browsing the internet for a new barbecue grill.
But he said the company hasn’t been focused on the “top of the funnel,” creating the kind of brand awareness that gets the consumer thinking about BBQGuys before they even realize they want a new grill.
“They have a great name and a great story so we think there is a tremendous opportunity to build on that,” Lebowitz said at the time.
The new campaign is intended to target those top-of-the-funnel consumers.
“This is a company that has worked extremely hard to build a great word-of-mouth reputation among both consumers and professional builders,” says Russ Wheeler, BBQGuys CEO. “We felt like tapping Archie and Eli for this would only increase our opportunities to raise awareness with more customers nationally.”