Five years ago, a committee was formed and slowly began work on a unique project for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.
The Packers are different from other organizations across the NFL and in American sports in that they are community-owned. They are driven from the ground up.
That same approach was applied to this committee as they attempted to brainstorm and gather ideas for a very important effort.
The committee reached out to Facilities. They reached out to Human Resources. They reached out to staff at the 1919 Kitchen & Tap—the team’s restaurant on-site at Lambeau Field. They reached out to employees at the team’s Hall of Fame…and ultimately every department in the organization to determine what they could do for the fans.
When it was all said and done, they collected over 300 ideas across the entire club.
The committee took a familiar bottom-up approach and, in doing so, formed the foundation for the celebration of 100 Seasons of Green Bay Packers football that officially launched this past April.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) April 9, 2018
Behind the Planning and Strategy
So, how do you pare down 300-plus ideas into something executable for a landmark celebration?
It’s all about having the right set of strategic goals. The Packers had these in mind as they refined and categorized which ideas would pass through an internal tollgate to become reality.
The Packers’ 100 Seasons celebration is designed to be 80% “big events” and 20% “little things.”
“Large events and small tactics,” were the driver according to Joan Malcheski, the Green Bay Packers’ Director of Brand and Marketing.
The team also considered how efforts would be implemented in terms of impact and reach to respective groups of fans at a local, state, national, and even international level while emphasizing the team’s place in history.
So, ideas were validated against potential audiences such as season ticket holders, waitlist members, team sponsors, media groups, adults, children, etc…
Weighing what the celebration would look like, the goal was to implement as much as they could to benefit the most diverse cross-section of fans.
Not everyone would be able to travel to Lambeau Field after all…
So, when do you celebrate and how do you recognize such a momentous achievement?
The answer became an extensive, 16-month celebration starting this year that would last through the 100th season, culminating in the 100th anniversary of the franchise in August 2019. The elongated timing would allow for the events to extend well beyond Green Bay.
In a league where many team rebrands take two to three years to plan, a team that has had little reason to change anything about their identity, invested more time in a celebration a century in the making.
“YOTOHO—You Only Turn One Hundred Once!”
That was the motto at Lambeau Field for those planning the 100 Seasons celebration, as they brought their many ideas together to make the most of the historic anniversary.
At the centerpiece of the festivities is the team’s custom-designed 100 Seasons logo.
Malcheski shared that the 100 Seasons logo was actually developed years ago as part of the long planning process.
“The layout of the logo, how it looks on the field, how the patch fits on a jersey–there was a lot of time and input on this.”
Celebrating with Large Events
“We’re taking Lambeau Field on a road trip!”
According to Malcheski, Lambeau Field Live presented by Associated Bank “takes what’s great about Lambeau Field, scales it down, and brings it to the people.”
The team is bringing the Lambeau Field experience around the state, bringing along part of their Hall of Fame (including artifacts) and even tour guides and a team historian to ramp up the experience that targets key milestones in the Wisconsin summer.
Five venues were chosen to host the roadshow:
- Summerfest (Milwaukee)
- Northern Wisconsin State Fair (Chippewa Falls)
- EAA AirVenture (Oshkosh)
- Wisconsin State Fair (West Allis in suburban Milwaukee)
- Taste of Madison
The free exhibit will add to the excitement not just this summer for Packers fans—but also next year’s in 2019 as it will travel to each event in successive years.
Interactive opportunities will include fans being able to run through the players’ tunnel and perform the Lambeau Leap through virtual reality experiences presented by Patrick Cudahy.
The NFL venture of Play 60 Kids will feature additional opportunities for kids at Lambeau Field Live, and fans of all ages will have the chance to run drills as part of the roadshow.
Fans also can sign up for a Packers Pass with chances to scan to win prizes on site and take photos with alumni in an idea that was actually piloted at Packers training camp last summer.
Involvement of long-time, local sponsors like Associated Bank (the bank of the Packers since 1919) is no accident either as the team wanted to work alongside many of their partners to spread the word about 100 Seasons and engage as many fans as possible.
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Following these mid-summer events, training camp will coincide with the Packers Experience, a free, four-day, interactive festival at Lambeau Field and areas adjacent to the stadium.
Included are activities for all ages, such as USA Football kids clinics, live music, alumni appearances, and additional opportunities to win prizes and take photos through the Packers Pass. This experience also involves sponsors such as American Family Insurance, Old El Paso, and Mills Fleet Farm.
The final marquee event of 2018 will be Celebration Weekend when the season kicks off in September on Sunday Night Football against the rival Chicago Bears. There visiting alumni across the decades will headline the festivities alongside a free concert provided for fans.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) May 5, 2018
Engaging with Small Tactics
Fans in and around Green Bay can experience some of these small tactics already as they may notice parking lot banners heralding 100 Seasons, signage at Green Bay-Austin Straubel International Airport, and even bus wrap graphics in town.
Speaking of small, the team went as far as considering a postage stamp, but Joan Malcheski shared that the team was surprised to find out that their advance timing was still too late!
One small-sized tactic that the team had a little more control over became new business cards for Packers employees. In addition to the 100 Seasons logo, they all feature unique historical facts on the back!
For those not in Northeast Wisconsin, the multi-faceted strategy already has an opportunity underway for you.
With 100 Days of Giveaways presented by Tombstone, fans all over the globe have a chance to enter daily online and win prizes through mid-July including tickets, team shop gift cards, 100 Seasons gear, and even $500 travel vouchers for more distant fans to make their way to Wisconsin for the celebration.
As these giveaways are in full swing, the Packers will then release the 100 Seasons micro-site on June 1st including tease videos for upcoming festivities.
Events will come and go, but the team wanted to explore legacy items to cement the impact of the milestone.
Decade by decade, exploring lore vs. fact, the team is releasing “Legacy,” a documentary film series and publication to mark the anniversary.
Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers, is a 10-part documentary series featuring one- or two-hour films with each one dedicated to a decade of the team’s history. It features never before seen footage and also interviews with past and current players, coaches and commissioners of the NFL.
The documentary is currently in production in a partnership with a local agency, KHROME, and a full release of the 10-part series scheduled for fall of 2019.
The series will be previewed later in the year at Lambeau Field Live and the Packers Experience with portions to be shown on the team website and in-stadium during the season. Malcheski shared that the team is also considering the release of a DVD set of the documentary down the road as well.
The other Legacy item slated for 2019 is the publication of a 100 Seasons book that will present a comprehensive written history of the franchise.
The motto of 100 Seasons carries the extended tagline of “100 Seasons…and Counting” for the Packers Organization.
From a founding on August 11, 1919 in the old Green Bay Press-Gazette building on Cherry Street to today, the Packers’ history has inspired generations of fans, and the team wants to preserve and grow this legacy going forward.
After all, how many teams pre-date the league they’re in? The NFL was founded in an auto showroom in Canton, Ohio on August 20, 1920—about a year later than the Packers.
Part of the look forward was a focus on future supporters of the team–making sure many of the events held would be beneficial for kids as the next generation of Packers fans.
You can see that evidenced in many of the activities at Lambeau Field Live as travels around the state to so many staples of Packer fans’ childhoods. The aforementioned Play 60 Kids and USA Football clinics assure that the experience is hands-on.
Finally, with another nod to the future, one idea tossed around internally that Malcheski shared was a possible budget to capture and preserve history in-house going forward (such as interviewing staff to capture their perspective in the years ahead).
After all, this is just the first century.
You don’t turn one hundred overnight, and for the Green Bay Packers, celebrating the milestone is no small achievement, either!
Through a unique approach of involving the entire organization, attempting to impact fans and stakeholders at every level, and using tactics both big and small, the team hopes to create memories as a legacy that will last long beyond the 100-year milestone into the next century of Packers football.