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Brands want in on Chicago Cubs' World Series run


By Haley Velasco, Freelance journalist

October 31, 2016 | 4 min read

1908. One hundred and seven years ago was the last time the Cubs took home the World Series “W.”

That hasn’t stopped fans from cheering for a team that hasn’t won the whole thing in over one hundred years. Based on preliminary rankings from Nielsen, Games 1 and 2 were the best ratings Fox has had for a World Series since the 2009 matchup between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Without surprise, marketers, and brands especially, have gotten in on the Midwest World Series by tapping into fans’ experiences around the games and by encouraging the team with the longest dry spell from a World Series win.

"We take care of family and with a historic moment like this, we want to be sure that Chicago sports fans get home safely,” said Jim Beam's master distiller and brand ambassador in a statement.

On Friday, Jim Beam gave away 10,000 Uber rides during the seventh inning in Chicago as the Cubs welcomed the Indians to Wrigley Field. That comes on top of the giveaways that their representatives gave out at local Wrigleyville bars — including Rockit Burger Bar, which overlooks Wrigley Field.

State Farm has hedged its bets on the Cubs all season with their “Jake from State Farm” spin-off. Featuring Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, State Farm created ads working off baseball and the name. At the Addison red line stop, the ad reads,

“Jake & Strikeouts. Some things go together. Like Home & Auto.”

The 2015 Cy Young Award winner’s “All for Won” Cubs commercial, which features fellow Cubs players, including Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Addison Russell as young kids, taps into Chicago’s love for the Cubs, for this team and State Farm is hoping for their products.

The big sports names got in on the action as well. Starting with the National League Division Series, Adidas ran a digital campaign where they promoted the “#$@& Curses” in reference to the billy goat curse of the Cubs. According to Cubs’ legend, the curse of the billy goat occurred when Chicago resident William Sianis’ goat, Murphy, was not allowed inside Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the 1945 World Series. Sianis cursed the Cubs by saying they would not win that Series or any in the future.

Adidas tweeted:

“We don't believe in curses. We believe in Chicago.

Join us. Swap your profile photo.#FlyTheW”

It makes sense why the athletic brand would hitch on to the Cubs since third baseman Kris Bryant is a huge Adidas’ endorser.

Nike joined the Cubs conversation as well with their “Make Someday Today” ads that they plastered all around Wrigleyville, as well as took to social media. That slogan coupled with the typical Nike swoosh instill the brand’s esthetic, to just do it.

Don’t forget about the fast food industry. Taco Bell is in celebrating the World Series as well. The Tex-Mex fast food chain is running a promotion that for every stolen base, Taco Bell is giving away free tacos. Whether you’re a Cubs or Indians fan, you have to thank Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor who stole second base during Game 1. That means on Nov.2 between 2-6 p.m., fans can grab their complimentary Doritos Locos Taco.

Major League Baseball kicked it up a notch this season with virtual ads in the postseason that allow brands to tailor ads to specific regions. Some viewers may see a Pepsi ad, while others may see a different brand’s campaign. Thirty-two brands have signed on, including: Delta Air Lines, T-Mobile and Anheuser-Busch’s SABMiller.

The Cubs making it to the World Series transcends much more than just baseball. Those in the advertising space realize that as thousands of fans crowd Wrigleyville waiting with anticipation, and others wave their “W” flags across the country, as Mr. Mertle, from the iconic baseball flick, The Sandlot said, “Baseball is life.”

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