By Marinn Jackson, Head of Premium Sales Strategy, Verizon Media
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett and New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara are not only superstar athletes on the football field, but also beloved figures on the streets of their new hometowns.
Today we're introducing "Hometown Heroes," a special two-part video series on Yahoo Sports, the ultimate mobile fan experience, starring Lockett and Kamara, produced by RYOT Studio and sponsored by Pizza Hut. "Hometown Heroes" gives fans a rare glimpse of two top athletes giving back to their new cities and advocating for the community's next generation. With this new series, Pizza Hut also connects the dots between its successful BOOK IT! initiative -- encouraging reading among more than 14 million students in 37,000 K-6 grade schools annually -- and football fandom across the country.
In the first episode of "Hometown Heroes," teamwork translates into community engagement as Alvin Kamara walks us through the streets of New Orleans, a vibrant and unique city full of culture and history. Kamara is on his way to visit the Willie Hall Recreation Center to surprise a lucky group of young football players with new gear and a Pizza Hut pizza party. Noting parallels between these young athletes and his own experience growing up, the football star recognizes that trust, dedication and teamwork are all essential life lessons learned through playing football.
In episode two, debuting November 28 on Yahoo Sports, Tyler Lockett stops by Destiny Middle School to talk about the power of books, reading and imagination. Lockett is an advocate for the diverse, creative community of Seattle. With the support of Pizza Hut's famed BOOK IT! initiative, the students of Destiny Middle School spend the afternoon with Lockett, new books and, of course, pizza.
"This series combines three of our biggest passion points—encouraging literacy, celebrating the football fan experience, and using the power of pizza to bring people together," said Marianne Radley, Chief Brand Officer, Pizza Hut, U.S. "BOOK IT! has a long history of introducing children to the love and fun of reading, and we're excited to work with Verizon Media to bring that to life with this impactful story around the game, community, and giving back to the next generation."
Today it's essential for marketers to put consumer passions at the center of their campaigns to build brand love and authenticity. At RYOT Studio we work with leading brands like Pizza Hut to combine unmatched distribution with purposeful storytelling through insights, strategy, creative and distribution that makes sure a story isn't just told but heard. For most football fans, home is the stadium and media makes it feel real. With "Hometown Heroes" we're bringing together community, creativity, reading and, of course, pizza in this branded series, to create a memorable moment for Pizza Hut and football fans across the country.