Mike Koeshartanto

RBNY Honored for #NYisRED Campaign

At the annual MLS year-end awards ceremony in Baltimore last week, the New York Red Bulls’ social and digital teams were recognized for their #NYisRED social campaign from the 2015 MLS season. The campaign helped drive awareness and build conversation in the weeks and months leading up to the inaugural New York Derby against expansion team and local rival, New York City FC. Through the season and beyond the first derby match, #NYisRED grew beyond the rivalry and became a rallying point for Red Bulls fans and players through social media posts and digital content.
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To get the inside scoop on the creation of the campaign and details surrounding its popularity, we spoke with Molly Brady, Social Media Manager, who spearheaded the campaign and Scott Sandalow, Digital Media Manager, who supported the campaign through website presence and digital strategy.

What’s the origin of the campaign? How did your team come up with the #NYisRED hashtag and social campaign?

After what could mildly be called a turbulent off-season, #NYisRED became a very healing and unifying campaign for our team and supporters. It gave them a tangible rallying point and stake in the changing New York soccer scene.
Supporters felt that the Red Bulls were counted out from day one and that New York was just handed over to NYCFC without any respect to their history. #NYisRED became an exciting and engaging campaign for them to stake a claim in New York, to be proud of their team and the on field accomplishments, to look at the contributions of our organization to community and know that we all are making New York RED. The greatest success of the campaign was establishing RED as a strong identity for the club.

The idea for the campaign and hashtag were directly inspired by the team, how they work, how they train, how they play, and how they carry themselves. We wanted something bold, focused, and challenging.

What were some of the engagement tactics your team used that were most successful?

I think our best engagement tactics for this campaign stemmed from giving people what they needed and wanted to be a part of the campaign, to declare that they’re RED, that #NYisRED.

  • creating #NYisRED overlays for social media profile photos
  • bold creative that begs to be shared and used
  • giving our players personalized graphics packages for their social accounts
  • (within reason) playing a part in the banter / friendly rivalry with NYCFC

Can you share any metrics from the campaign?

  • Total Impressions [FB, T, IG]: 54,144,661
  • FB Reach: 22.25% increase with #NYisRED
  • Twitter Reach: 16.49% increase with #NYisRED
  • Engagement [FB, T, IG]: 38.1% increase with #NYisRED

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How did your fans take to the social campaign? Did they adopt it right away?

I think this campaign was what our fans wanted and needed at the time.
There was a lot of uncertainty around the first derby match… it was already being billed as a rivalry, without any history, NYCFC seemed to shy away from and discredit the derby aspect of the match… but our fans, our organization, and most importantly our players were excited for the match and wanted to make a big statement.

I think part of what made the fans excited about the campaign is that they could genuinely feel how excited the players were about it. They wanted to make a big statement on and off the pitch with the first derby match and RED / #NYisRED became a natural rallying cry.

Will the #NYisRED campaign live beyond this past season? Is there something new in the works for the 2016 season?

As long as the derby is alive, I can’t see #NYisRED leaving anytime soon. #NYisRED will be back, but it also opened up a new avenue for us with the love our organization, the players and fans have for identifying as RED. We used #REDTogether for the playoffs. Continuing that sentiment, we’ve added #2016isRED to start the year.

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Anything you want to say about this campaign in relation to NYCFC and their work in year one?

I think it was really interesting seeing how differently each team reacted to the pressure of the new rivalry. For our part, it was important for us to listen to the team and our fans and give the new derby the weight and significance – officially from the organization – that they did. #NYisRED and RED were a rallying point and unifying tag more than a marketing campaign we foisted on our fans.

I didn’t get the same impression from NYCFC leading up to or during the season. It felt like they were a bit scattered with how they handled the emerging rivalry (like acknowledging it as a rivalry to start)


Categories: Digital Content, Featured, Major League Soccer, Press, Soccer Marketing, Social Media