MELT was recently featured in Sports Business Journal in an article written by Michael Smith.
Published August 17, 2015, Page 20
Atlanta agency Melt has joined forces with renowned Alabama-based chef and restaurant owner Chris Hastings to redefine the tailgating experience on college football Saturdays.
The new division of Melt, which will be called Melt Food, intends to create tailgating experiences around college campuses. These tailgates will be designed for corporate crowds or large fan gatherings on game day.
“When you think about all of the fans who don’t have their own elaborate tailgating setup, there’s not a lot for them to do before the game,” Melt Chairman Vince Thompson said. “We believe there’s a hugely untapped opportunity.
“Our plan is to form a major collection of great chefs and work with major media organizations, corporate clients and universities to continue to create new content and experiences.”
Thompson envisions the tailgate becoming more than a hospitality experience. By bringing Hastings into the fold, Melt will look to create content and programming that could be used for ESPN, the SEC Network and CBS, each of which cover the SEC.
The first play for Melt is to create tailgating experiences for the networks themselves. These on-site tailgates, which would be set up by Hastings and feature celebrity chefs that he brings in through his contacts, could become a source of programming for “SEC Nation” on the SEC Network or ESPN’s “College GameDay.”
“We see this becoming a sponsored programming piece for the networks,” Thompson said, “using the strong connection between food and football on game day.”
“There’s this real authenticity and energy around tailgating that, heretofore, advertisers have not tapped in to,” Hastings said. “If we can capture those activities around food and sports, we can convey the food culture around college football.”
Melt has positioned Jason Pressman to oversee the new food division. Pressman, Melt’s director of lifestyle marketing, joined the agency in May after a 14-year run at Anheuser-Busch InBev. Most recently, Pressman had been Southeast U.S. director of trade marketing and brand activation. He’ll be assisted by Daisy Venners and the Melt production team.
Melt is working on a pricing model to take to networks and corporate clients.