Rodeo sponsorships wrangle dealers and rope customers.

National Ads, Co-op ads, Brochures

Hesston makes big, expensive equipment for growing and harvesting hay. They’re #1 in the category. But with a relatively narrow market niche and lots of other highly competent brands competing for farmers’ dollars, the brand’s ongoing success depends heavily on keeping their group of 400 dealers happy, engaged, and selling.

In 1975, Hesston launched a major promotional effort, sponsoring professional rodeo. The program was successful, but – by the late 1990s – they’d let the sponsorship lapse in favor of other promotional programs.
The Crafton Group saw that by reuniting Hesston with its rodeo roots, we had the opportunity to reward top dealers, make them look like heroes to their customers, and build the brand by reinforcing its position as the leader in hay.

In the rodeo world, The Wrangle National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) is the Super Bowl, The Masters and Wimbledon combined. It’s held every December in Las Vegas and tickets are hard to get and expensive. So using digital and traditional media, we mounted an incentive program to motivate both dealers and their customers. Anyone who bought Hesston hay equipment during the promotion was entered in a drawing. Winners and their dealers were given weeklong, all-expense-paid trips to the WNFR, with coveted Gold Buckle seats – including on the extravagant final night of the rodeo.
During rodeo week, the Mandalay Bay hotel was converted into Hesston HQ with branded signage everywhere. And, as the final piece of pudding*, the week was topped off with a private concert at Mandalay Bay by country star Rodney Atkins.

The reaction from dealers was powerful and immediate. Across the board, they felt the promotion was on-target with their customers. They supported it enthusiastically and attributed considerable sales to both the promotion itself and the payoff. Many dealers sold additional equipment even after their customers had been rewarded with the WNFR experience.
Hesston rodeo-related marketing activities and dealer incentive events during this period resulted in almost $11 million in sales. And Hesston is now continuing its tradition as the official tractor and farm implement company of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

*Cowboy slang for an extra bit of good fortune, or “the icing on the cake”