What do future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki and current MLB superstar Fernando Tatis, Jr. have in common?
Mizuno is a global sporting goods company founded in Japan in 1906 has supplied equipment, footwear, and apparel to baseball players at the highest professional levels around the world for decades. Professional ballplayers recognize and appreciate the quality craftsmanship that Mizuno commits to its products.
MIZUNO’S MAIN OBJECTIVES
What Pros Wear is the “OG” product influencer. When it comes to identifying what the best athletes in the world are using on the field (and court), WPW is the definitive source. Over the past decade, What Pros Wear has cultivated a community of “gear-heads” that are hungry for the next great products.
An early adopter of Instagram allowed What Pros Wear to quickly extend their graphics-heavy website content into the feeds of teens around the world. Over the years, What Pros Wear gained the trust of the pro player community. As consumer content shifted to more video, What Pros Wear was ready. The wildly popular video series “MLB Locker Tours” has garnered millions of views on the WPW YouTube channel.
What Pros Wear was the perfect fit for Mizuno’s content project. The WPW community checked the demographic box and had demonstrated a history of engaging with content distributed on WhatProsWear.com and the WPW Instagram and YouTube channels.
Conceptually, all parties saw the benefits. What Pros Wear wanted to create more video content—this became the foundation for the “WPW Origins” series. Mizuno had found their voice and outlet to tell their story in an authentic way. On a linear path, Mizuno was working on endorsement agreements with some of the top young players in the game, notably Fernando Tatis, Jr. The 2020 MLB season would kick off with fresh young talent flashing Mizuno leather. Now there was a roadmap for the branded content plan.
A few weeks after the initial meetings with Mizuno and What Pros Wear, we gathered in early January 2020 at the ABCA Convention to finalize content, production, and distribution plans. The primary areas of focus were on Mizuno’s ball gloves and wood bats with an emphasis on attention to detail, production environment—I swear you could eat off the factory floor—and the people behind the products.
A timeline was created for travel, content capture, and production. A distribution schedule was outlined on What Pros Wear channels and media positions were secured with Mizuno partners to provide promotional support for each video in the series. A month after the first discussion, What Pros Wear was on the ground in Japan to gather video footage, photography, and interviews with key Mizuno personnel.
Ultimately, What Pros Wear created three “long-form” videos that were posted on WhatProsWear.com and premiered on YouTube during May 2020. Fourteen Instagram feed posts plus additional stories were presented to 200,000+ followers. Teaser videos were shared on Instagram to promote the video releases. There were ample bite size pieces shared throughout the season to bring new viewers back to previously released content.
In 2020, the sizzle around MLB’s opening day and season as a whole were muted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that didn’t stop the What Pros Wear audience from consuming content.
To date, the WPW, Origins: Mizuno content has amassed 350,000 video views, 5,000 hours of watch time, and 1.5 million branded impressions across What Pros Wear channels. The success of the partnership was founded on mutual interests and a passion to create content for a shared audience.