Carving out a memorable position with brand-loyal Middle Americans is a task best left to those who understand their core beliefs. While big-city agencies frequently overlook this demographic, Creative Energy never has.

Case in point is our role in connecting the Texas Pete® brand with the 108 million Americans who call country music their genre. We took a deep dive into where this hot sauce brand’s core consumers are located, and found them largely in what major marketers call “flyover country.” We likewise spotted an opening among competitors who had market share where we wanted to grow but had little connection with country music. We pounced.

Don’t be fooled by the cowboy hats and daisy dukes; country is for real. With an average household income of $81,500, Millennials are second only to Boomers in their listenership.

Fans A Day

Taking part in one of the largest country music gatherings in Nashville, we knew the Country Music Association’s Fan Fest would draw more than 80,000 fans a day to listen to the biggest artists and celebrate “being country.” For the brand, it was like finding tens of thousands of newfound Texas Pete® loyalists. For the country music lovers, there was lots of, “where have y’all been?”

Hot Sauce Samples Shared

Sharing more than 60,000 hot sauce samples, autographed guitars and an imaginary stage for fun photo ops was like old home week. Networking with budding country music singer and actress Hayley Orrantia landed the brand free product placement in her debut song, Strong, Sweet, and Southern.

Our plan to reach Middle America that proved Texas Pete® was ready to play included Pandora streaming audio in markets big and small. This led to increased sales within those markets, showing that country fans loved the brand as much as we did.

The strong first-year performance led to supermarket retailers welcoming special displays for our second year at Fan Fest. We’ve doubled the investment in country music fans in 2017 and expect nothing less than twice the success.

Simple pleasures come in many forms, and embracing Middle America through country music isn’t hard when you understand the people who love it. I hear more steel guitars and fiddles in our continued journey with this gold mine of consumers who are still largely loyal to brands.

By: Tony Treadway