Hot Dog! Cub eating contest a gluttonous glory

A hot-dog eating contest is a speedy event — in minutes, contestants must consume as many hot dogs and buns as they can. Those who aspire to such greatness must qualify at regional contests to compete at the world's premier event: Nathan's Famous International Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating Contest on Coney Island.

In 2008, the contest's sponsors asked Cub Foods, the leading grocer in the Twin Cities, to host the coveted Midwest qualifying event. Cub recognized the contest as a prime opportunity to boost its business profile and community-friendly image.

With just six weeks' notice, Cub and Padilla Speer Beardsley created and promoted a unique happening that elevated the contest from a fleeting curiosity to a day-long family outing at Cub's Apple Valley store. Activities included condiment finger-painting for the kids, a hot-dog sculpture contest and a frankfurter face-off among local firefighters. Baseball fans turned out to meet another famous Nathan drafted for the day — Minnesota Twins All-Star pitcher Joe Nathan.

More than 500 people attended the event, which drew coverage from the four major local news channels and two major newspapers. National sponsors were so impressed, they asked Cub and Padilla to host Nathan's Midwest qualifier in 2009.

Case Study


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