Baseball caps are crowns that express allegiance, personality, and style, and for a long time, New Era has been pinnacle hatmaker. Its influence has gone beyond the playing field, as New Era caps, especially the59FIFTY Fitted, are staples in hip-hop culture. Since the beginning, rappers have been rocking New Eras to rep their hometowns or cliques (“I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can,” Jay-Z). So to bridge the gap between its brand, baseball, and culture, New Era worked with its ad agency 72andSunny, to launch a new campaign, “We Who Reign”, for the start of Major League Baseball’s 2018-2019 season.
The 97-year-old hatmaker is looking to help make baseball cool again. The slow-paced sport has seen a decline in popularity with younger demographics as 20% of 18-29 years olds follow Major League Baseball, so it really needs help in gaining relevance. In the new “We Who Reign” spot, New Era enlists top players like Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, José Altuve of the Houston Astros, Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners, in addition to hip-hop artists Dave East, Big Sean, and Mike WiLL Made-It.
In general, the connection between baseball and rap is weak, so the “We Who Reign” campaign could be a reach in making the archaic game cool. However, the spot focuses more on leveraging New Era caps to represent something more than a baseball team. Legendary MC Rakim, who narrates the spot, states that “This crown represents something greater than your name—it’s your city, it’s your family, your empire”. New Era isn’t pushing baseball down the consumers’ throats, it’s trying to integrate baseball into the conversation with the cool kids.
Watch the spot below.