How to Draw a Crowd in the Age of Social Distancing.
The annual Jackie Robinson Day celebration would have reached hundreds of thousands at ballparks this year.
COVID-19 made that impossible, but true to Jackie’s own indomitable spirit, this year’s event persevered to reach millions of fans around the country.
Nobody saw this coming. No one’s business model included a “stop everything, put it all on hold” contingency plan.
For sports leagues to Broadway, restaurants to book publishers, and in countless other industries, what was expected to be happening…simply isn’t.
We have faith that, in time, companies will be able to resume their activities. But what do you do if your organization depends on a major annual event to drive public engagement for the year—and that event essentially gets canceled because of the global pandemic?
Per tradition since 2004, all Major League Baseball players wear his officially retired uniform #42 on April 15th. This special day has become a platform for the Jackie Robinson Foundation to educate thousands of young people about civil rights and Jackie’s legacy of stepping up to the plate. A series of well-orchestrated multi-city events make it a big day in baseball, and a big day for America.
But the pandemic led to the cancelation of baseball. Which, led to the cancelation of the educational celebration. Which, in turn, led to a big decision…
The foundation decided to replace the live event with an online digital experience.
They made that call on April 1st. And we’re proud to say they made that call… to Bartley & Dick. Now, candidly, it’s a big challenge to sprint from concept into copy writing, visual design and technical development under a time crunch. Fortunately, the Jackie Robinson Foundation had a great starting point with an education guide made for print, already complete with content ready to shine online.
Two weeks to design and launch a new e-learning hub.
We didn’t blink. Projects like these take a good client-agency relationship to start and then make it even better through a little sweat equity. The Jackie Robinson Foundation led by example as one hell of a teammate, and so with a handful of twilight design, coding and editing sessions—we made it happen.
The result is a shiny new website, JRLegacy.org.
The new site now provides rich educational experience to fans around the country. Its interactive features are made complete with downloadable worksheets, trivia games, video clips, testimonials, and a wealth of fascinating facts.
While it’s truly a shame that the live events had to be cancelled, the online results are inspiring for the future.
The annual Jackie Robinson Day celebration would have reached many thousands at ballparks. This year’s digital event reached over two million users online.
We look at this experience as a model for jumping over hurdles, sprinting toward your goal and turning obstacles into opportunities. (And frankly, it’s the kind of work that really gets us up in the morning.)
Be well. Be safe. And be in touch should the need arise. We’re here in our digital dugout, ready to help your digital initiatives reach major league success.