Ball Park Franks Brings Baseball’s Famed Racing Mascots Game to the Big Screen

National CineMedia and the brand launch AR game for moviegoers

Ball Park's AR game comes to movie theaters. NCM
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It’s only been a few weeks since National Hot Dog day and the auspicious rollout of the iconic Weinermobile to Airbnb. Time for a silver-screen advertising network to ketchup on all the excitement? (Full disclosure: more bad puns to follow).

National CineMedia (NCM), during its pre-show program called Noovie, will launch an augmented reality game on Friday with Ball Park franks. Moviegoers at AMC, Cinemark, Regal and other theater chains will be able to immerse themselves in a track-and-field contest where anthropomorphic hot dogs race each other, jump hurdles and finish best. Or wurst? 

Execs at NCM say they’re relishing this deal since it’s the first cinema advertising for the Detroit-born Ball Park, and the first branded game with a consumer packaged goods company.

The Ball Park Hot Dog Derby, playable via the free Noovie Arcade app, will debut on 40-foot-tall screens before all G- and PG-rated movies at NCM’s 1,700-plus theaters across the country, turning the venues into “larger than life game settings,” the partners say.

“Digital cinema advertising extensions like mobile gaming are a great way to make a deeper, one-on-one connection with the audience in a way that really sticks with them and will keep them talking about the experience long after they leave the movie theater,” says Jerry Canning, NCM’s vp, digital ad sales.

Ball Park wanted to leverage AR technology “to bring the much-beloved in-stadium baseball game of racing mascots” to those who show up 20 minutes early to watch The Lion King, Dora and the Lost City of Gold and other all-family flicks in the relatively uncluttered cinema environment, according to Rachel Friedstat, senior brand manager.

Once the province of static local ads and movie trivia slides, pre-show programs have evolved to include original content, national commercials explicitly created for the big-screen format and other entertainment bits. NCM’s Noovie added AR, including an interactive Ralph Breaks the Internet game from Disney, last spring.

@TLStanleyLA T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.