Influencer Marketing: The Marriage of Patrick Mahomes and Hunt’s Ketchup

Posted on December 21, 2018

Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Hunt’s Ketchup have formed an influencer marketing partnership. You can check out Mahomes’ social media introduction to the Hunt’s team here:

If you’re not privy to all the latest news surrounding the NFL MVP candidate, you’re probably wondering what in the name of condiments is going on here. Let me explain.

An ESPN profile story recently revealed Mahomes has an extraordinary obsession with ketchup. He’s been putting it on everything most of his life, including steak and macaroni and cheese. (Personally, I think ketchup on a steak should be considered a felony but to each his own.) But as Mahomes surged into the public eye in the midst of a stellar 2018 season, he began concealing his love for ketchup, seemingly out of embarrassment. The impression was he didn’t want to wake up one day and read the headline: “Patrick Mahomes puts ketchup on steak! Throw him in jail!”

That’s exactly what happened, though. (Not the jail part but you get the idea.) The ESPN story, because of the ketchup information, went viral and was much discussed on social media for the better part of a couple of days. That’s an eternity in social media time.

So while Mahomes had to start answering to the masses questioning his ketchup obsession, the marketing team at Hunt’s jumped into action. One month later and Mahomes is now a brand ambassador.

The influencer marketing opportunity was ripe for a perfect partnership and Hunt’s took advantage. This is fun, different, and interesting. And you already know what brand Chiefs fans, and probably NFL fans in general, are going to think of first when they hit the ketchup aisle.

It should be noted the marketing team over at Heinz also got in on the Mahomes action. The brand promised free ketchup to Mahomes for life if he throws 57 touchdowns this season, which would be an NFL single-season record. And 57 is also a significant number for the company. So, kudos to them as well for getting creative. It’s unclear if Heinz also attempted to sign Mahomes as an ambassador, but it seems likely. However, Hunt’s was probably an easy choice considering Heinz is based in Pittsburgh and owns the naming rights to the stadium of the Steelers.

To me, this is very similar to the recent Crocs and Post Malone collaboration. It comes out of left field just enough to grab your interest and make a brand memorable. That’s at least true if you’re a fan of Post Malone or Mahomes, and who isn’t these days? Both brands took advantage of an opportunity to bring their name recognition in a culture that otherwise wouldn’t think twice about Crocs or a brand of ketchup.