- Claussen, Kraft Heinz’s pickle brand, was the exclusive sponsor of a two-hour sports comedy, “Pickled,” that aired Nov. 17, per details shared with Marketing Dive. The show included a star-studded game of pickleball that aired on CBS and Paramount+.
- Claussen provided free pickles to everyone involved and was central to the mid-game recap, “The Claussen Crunch Time-Halftime Show.” The program was hosted by “The Late Show” star Stephen Colbert, who playfully discussed game results with analysts.
- The sporting event raised money for nonprofit Comic Relief and reflects the momentum behind pickleball as a tie-in for marketers.
Pickleball is having a moment. It’s currently the fastest growing sport in the United States, growing 11.5% on average over the past five years, with a 21.3% growth rate between 2019 and 2020 alone. As the momentum grows, brands increasingly have begun exploring ways to tie themselves to the game — though Claussen pickles may be one of its most eligible suitors.
Designed to benefit a charitable cause, “Pickled” rallied together 16 celebrities, some including Will Ferrell, Emma Watson, Max Greenfield, Daniel Dae Kim, Sugar Ray Leonard, Kelly Rowland and Dierks Bentley, among a slew of others. Hosted by Colbert, the two-hour special showed the celebrities dueling it out on the court. The event was produced by Colbert’s production company, Spartina, comedy studio Funny or Die and CBS Studios.
During Claussen’s sponsored halftime show, Colbert and analysts gathered in a branded space to discuss the game’s first-half highlights. Additionally, a brief history of the sport was given during the State of The Pickle segment. The second exclusive sponsor of the special was OOFOS Active Recovery footwear, who created the OOFOS Recovery Lounge that served as a refueling station and the spot for post-match interviews.
The Claussen tie-up perhaps represents a new way to get involved with the game, though at this point there’s still plenty of exploring left to be done. Recently, Molson Coors brand Vizzy became the first-ever official hard seltzer of the Professional Pickleball Association. Earlier this month, Anheuser-Busch InBev purchased a Major League Pickleball team starting in the 2023 season.
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