Pilot Flying J is launching its first major integrated marketing campaign in advance of the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol on Sept. 10, an iconic college football game hosted at Bristol Motor Speedway. Aimed at driving mass awareness, the national campaign highlights its travel centers’ key differentiators and challenges the consumer perception that quality, variety and convenience is hard to find on the interstate.
With a crowd capacity in excess of 150,000, the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol will feature a border battle between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Tennessee Volunteers, broadcasted on ABC. Pilot Flying J is leveraging its title sponsorship beyond traditional marketing efforts to execute a series of TV commercials on ESPN as well as radio, print and digital advertisements, a mobile app sweepstakes and onsite experiences at Bristol Motor Speedway. Pilot Flying J is using the campaign to reinforce how its travel centers are reliable destinations with a variety of offerings like renovated restrooms, fresh meal options, free Wi-Fi and high-quality Pilot Coffee.
“The Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol is our first major sponsorship of this magnitude,” said Whitney Johnson, vice president of brand and guest experience at Pilot Flying J. “We’ve designed this marketing campaign to show consumers that they really can get quality service and products while on the road.”
To launch the 360-marketing campaign, Pilot Flying J debuted its first national TV commercial. The TV flight is running from Sept. 1-10 and is airing on ESPN’s “College Football Countdown,” “Mike and Mike,” “College GameDay” and “ESPN’s Afternoon College Football.”
Created by 3 Sons Media and titled “The Troops,” the TV commercial depicts an exhausted family on a road trip, all in need of different amenities – from reliable Wi-Fi to updated restrooms. With morale low, the father wisely exits the interstate and drives to the nearest Pilot Travel Center, much to the pleasure of his family. In the following scenes, the family can be found recharging with Pilot Coffee, PJ Fresh Pizza made fresh daily, free Wi-Fi and the PJ Fresh Marketplace, which delivers an expanded variety of fresh, fast meal options for guests. It also promotes the company’s clean and newly renovated restrooms with Italian tile, state-of-the-art LED lighting, low water consumption toilets and eco-friendly hand dryers. This is all part of a $100 million investment Pilot Flying J has made in its restrooms and showers at more than 650 locations across North America.
The TV spots are being supported through a number of marketing verticals, including four print advertisements, created by advertising agency Erwin Penland, in the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol program guide. Separately, consumers will have visibility into Facebook advertising and hear radio spots covering topics such as Pilot Flying J’s Wi-Fi and mobile app.
For those attending the game, fans visiting the property can experience several of Pilot Flying J’s modern hospitalities for free, including Wi-Fi, restrooms and samples of PJ Fresh Pizza. Guests will also be treated to charging stations and coupons for free items at Pilot Flying J to drive in-store visits. Branded photo opportunities with giant football helmets and more will be throughout the Guest Welcome Village, encouraging social sharing and engagement. Further, there will be digital screens aggregating Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol social media posts.
Pilot Flying J also recently launched a “Game Day Getaway,” sweepstakes to encourage consumers to download its new mobile app to win tickets to the year’s biggest college football games. Weekly winners will be awarded tickets to regular season games of their choice, and a lucky grand prize winner will be given tickets to the college bowl game of their preference. The sweepstakes will be supported with national online media buys. To view complete sweepstakes rules, visit www.mygamedaygetaway.com.
“The Battle at Bristol title sponsorship and the supporting 360-degree marketing campaign represent monumental and historic milestones for our company,” said Johnson. “We are thrilled to introduce our brand and company to the nation.”