Sweet Baby Ray’s Hits the Road

May, 17, 2014


Sweet Baby Ray’s wanted to build brand awareness, gain market share in underperforming markets, enhance its retail relationship with Walmart and increase sales by putting the products directly in the hands of target consumers.

Desired Layout

HMS was enlisted to design and build two custom vehicles to travel across the nation to help Sweet Baby Ray’s reach its goals.

Build Approach

To help Sweet Baby Ray’s reach its goals, HMS identified three types of consumer-driven events prime for sampling: large-scale events, college football games and retail stores in the Midwest.

For large-scale events, HMS secured seven event sponsorships that allowed the award-winning BBQ sauce to be showcased to attendees in a 10-foot-by-20-foot footprint. Two large inflatable bottles of BBQ sauce drew attention to the space where the team distributed full-size samples of the brand’s bestselling BBQ sauce flavors.

At college football games, HMS utilized a different tactic: guerilla sampling. The team loaded up a Sweet Baby Ray’s branded hand cart, which was designed in-house at HMS, and infiltrated the tailgate areas of each game. Tailgaters were surprised with full-size bottles of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce to complete their grilled meals.

With the biggest focus on retail sales, HMS located 31 stores including Walmart and Siesta Food Mart to distribute samples. The team served as brand ambassadors outside each location, talking about the brand, its benefits and offering free samples and coupons. HMS also utilized the custom-built truck it developed that has an 8-foot Sweet Baby Ray’s bottle in its bed and a custom-wrapped utility trailer to build awareness of the brand in each community.

Project Results

Combined with other efforts in each city, Sweet Baby Ray’s benefitted from an increase in sales. The tour resulted in:

  • Stops at 21 universities in 11 states;
  • More than 31,000 bottles distributed;
  • More than 31,000 coupons distributed;
  • 137 days on the road;
  • More than 341,000 on-the-road impressions;
  • 29 Walmart locations visited; and
  • More than 1,400 photos captured.
“HMS has helped us to engage with NASCAR’s fan base to build both brand awareness and loyalty for Sweet Baby Ray’s. We have benefited on countless occasions from HMS numerous, varied and deep NASCAR relationships and experience as our sampling program has evolved over the years. The HMS team has a solid understanding of our brand and objectives, enabling them to successfully design efforts that fit our strategy and budget.”
- Tom Murphy, Brand Manager, Sweet Baby Ray’s


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"IMAGINE had a wonderful experience utilizing the services of HMS Worldwide for our most recent trade show display. We were able to convey our booth’s theme and vision, creating a custom exhibit that fit exactly with what we were looking to accomplish. The HMS team was quick to respond and kept in constant contact from the initial design process all the way through post-show follow-up. Whenever an issue arose, HMS took care of the problem and offered solutions on the spot to make sure everything continued to flow smoothly while providing a superior level of service for our company. It was a pleasure working with a team that understood our concerns and did everything possible to create a flawless event from start to finish. The show was a success for our staff, clients and partners, and we look forward to collaborating again on future opportunities."

Kristen Greer
Public Relations Specialist
Imagine Software