Twitter to roll out NFL content with Boston Pizza

The restaurant and sports bar chain wants to attract second-screening football fans with six-second pre-roll ads.
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Twitter is getting set to roll out new NFL content in Canada, with family restaurant and sports bar chain Boston Pizza jumping on as the official Canadian launch partner for the program.

This is the first time a Canadian brand has partnered with Twitter and the NFL for game highlights. The partnership between Twitter and the NFL was announced in May following the IAB Digital Content Newfronts, when Twitter announced a slate of live programming coming to its platform. For the NFL, Twitter will air between 20 and 30 video highlights per week on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, timed with the games.

Boston Pizza will serve six-second pre-roll ads prior to the highlights. James Kawalecki, director of marketing, sports programs and sponsorships at Boston Pizza, said this was a first for the brand. “We’ve previously taken existing 15 to 30-second creatives and cut those down, but this was the first time creating something so short in that very quickly digestible format,” he told MiC. “This is designed to catch people’s attention quickly while they’re in the scrolling mode, because we know that in that environment, longer ads are not something they want to see.”

Another first for Boston Pizza is the decision to enter into a 100% digital campaign tied to NFL content.

The content is designed to attract second-screeners, said Kawalecki. Twitter’s own research estimates that there are more than four million NFL fans on Twitter in Canada. Of those four million fans, 67% use Twitter during games, with many frequently interacting with highlight reels. The chance to engage more with young and socially plugged-in fans, said Kawalecki, is smart for any brand.

The live content will appear in the NFL Canada’s Twitter feed and will be promoted on Twitter, however Kawalecki said the target was kept intentionally broad to keep with Boston Pizza’s audience. “We want to attract someone whether they’re 25 and watching the game with their friends, or a little older watching at home,” he said. However, he noted that the Twitter audience may naturally skew younger.

Boston Pizza worked with UM Canada on the media buy. The live integration will last for the entirety of the football season.

Last month, Boston Pizza announced a re-shifting of its  brand strategy, moving beyond sports-centric messaging to a more inclusive feel targeting millennial families. Kawalecki said that the brand will continue to invest in sports programming, since the sports bar side brings in 35% of its revenue, however the positioning was more of an attempt to diversify and not focus solely on that side of the business.

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