Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Sr. are a hit for A&W

A&W Canada’s burger lineup has long been a family affair, and the chain has turned to one of baseball’s most successful father-son duos to promote the newest addition to its line-up, the Ringer Burger.

Shot just prior to spring training, the new campaign from Rethink features the Toronto Blue Jays’ star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. taking batting practice thrown by the burger chain’s longtime spokesman Allen Lulu (who Guerrero Jr. calls “burger boy”) while his father looks on from behind the batting cage.

The spot shows Guerrero growing increasingly bemused by Lulu’s inability to throw pitches anywhere near the strike zone, as they soar over the slugger’s head or fall well short of the plate.

“I would’ve swung at that,” says Guerrero Sr., after one wayward pitch. A career .318 hitter and 2018 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Guerrero Sr. was also famous for swinging at, and hitting, a lot of bad pitches. The spot concludes with the three walking back to the clubhouse as Guerrero Jr. points to himself and says “baseball,” before pointing to Lulu and saying “burger.”

While A&W had a few Blue Jay father-and-son duos to chose from, with Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette also the sons of famous former major leaguers, the Guerreros offered an enticing combination of talent, charm and good-natured personality, said Rethink in an emailed statement.

“Baseball fans know Vladdy Jr. for his incredible talent, but they love him even more for his engaging personality, natural charisma and kind nature,” said Rethink. “It was a perfect fit for A&W’s family-friendly roots.” Approximately 160 pieces of content were captured during the eight-hour shoot.

In addition, Guerrero Sr.’s enormous popularity in Quebec—where he spent eight seasons as one of Major League Baseball’s pre-eminent hitters with the former Montreal Expos—made him a great fit to win over fans in that province. “A&W is a nostalgic brand, so having Vladdy Sr. deliver a line that nodded to his own baseball history allowed fans to feel ‘in on the joke’ and gave true baseball fans something to pick up on and embrace,” said Rethink.

A&W Canada signed a three-year deal making it the Official Burger of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2022. Amanda Wang, director, national promotions and loyalty, said the campaign garnered the most impressions of any campaign for an A&W limited-time offer to date. “[T]he immediate success of the burger itself has warranted extending the LTO and media investment,” said Wang.

The media buy by iProspect includes TV (Blue Jays telecasts on Sportsnet), YouTube and paid social ads, complemented by in-restaurant activations and home plate signage at Rogers Centre. A&W also held tasting events for the Ringer Burger in Toronto and Vancouver, with Lulu attending the Toronto event.

Chris Powell