Bush Brothers: Becoming a Player in the Game Day Experience

26 Mar 2010|Added Value

The Opportunity
Bush Brothers approached Cheskin to help them understand the quintessential ‘game-day experience’ at both American football games and NASCAR events.

Their questions: Is there a place for beans at tail-gating parties across America? How best to capture the feeling of game-day and position Bush Brothers as a key player in the experience?

Our Contribution
Finding those at Cheskin passionate about the game-day experience, we enlisted them to party with tailgaters throughout the Midwest and South. Attending numerous college football games and NASCAR events, we immersed ourselves in the experience from watching the event unfold, to shopping for the big day and attending the tail-gating party (and of course, the game/race after).

Ethnographic observation from 10 tailgating events and 5 in-home football events yielded the following key observations:


  • Baked beans work. There is a natural fit with menus being served at game day events.
  • Understanding key ritualistic behaviors is essential in order to secure ‘a place at the table’ and ensure long-term success.
  • Linking segments to ritual evolved to a broader understanding and definition of “tribes” that exist in the world of tailgating.
  • Experiencing the wide range of tailgates helped Bush create a voice of authenticity and more effectively target the segments most interested in adding Bush’s baked beans to their “tribal ceremony” – more mundanely referred to as a table or tailgate.
  • Helping tailgaters consider beans and understand how to include beans in their tailgate must be an important part of the Bush outreach and advertising campaign.
  • Visual cues and mood/tonality must guide future advertisement campaign communications.

Observations and key recommendations were presented to Bush Brothers in each of these areas.

The Results
In the fall of 2009 based Bush Beans launched a combined national advertising campaign strategy. Advertisements featured tailgaters cooking Bush Beans and even included Duke as a market researcher! Extensive in-store sampling and promotional signage encouraging Bush’s beans as the perfect tailgating side dish were introduced. A section of their website called “Tailgate Research Institute” was developed, along with a travelling Bush Brothers tailgating team setting up at college football and NFL events around the country providing samples and games for fellow tailgaters to enjoy.

This work continues to be used for marketing developments.

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