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For the Win: The Caterpillar Draft Day Campaign

When our friends at Caterpillar came to us with five new machine models to roll out, we knew we had a big job ahead of us. The world of advertising is crowded with messaging, and with a crowded lineup of new machines to announce, we needed to create a head-turning campaign to stand out. The Draft Day campaign did that, and more, earning itself numerous prestigious awards.


The Gameplan

The ask was straightforward enough – five newly upgraded Mini Excavators were ready for release. Caterpillar needed a unique way to promote the release of these Next Gen machines to build customer awareness and drive sales and marketing leads. As straightforward as the ask was, the ad campaign had to be anything but. With five distinct Mini Excavators rolling out, our creative team began crafting a campaign that would stand out from all the rest. Draft Day ‘21 and ‘22 invited potential customers into the excitement of a professional sports draft, with an industrial/construction spin.

The strategy included:

  • Video assets
  • Targeted ads across social, search, and other media outlets (including Spotify ads)
  • Display ads
  • Enticing Sweepstakes to drive customer interest


Play to the Fanbase

Most people love a good deal. And most American people love professional sports. When we think outside the box, we can find a way to combine these two truths into one message. The CAT Draft Day videos used timing (the onset of football season), humor, clear information, and a distinct call to action that was memorable, fun, and achieved the desired results. The key to all of this was remembering that customers are people just like us. It’s simple, but not easy.


Team Captain: Video Tells the Story

We went all-in on video for this campaign. In total, we made eight draft-day videos featuring the five Next Gen Mini Excavators, including specific details about each machine that make them unique. Laced with humor and loaded with sports verbiage, these videos were the catalyst that drove potential customers to visit and learn more about the new line of Mini Excavators. We combined these videos with solid website content and easy navigation features to make it easy for customers to zero in on the model they were interested in.


The MVP: A Solid Sweepstakes

When looking to drive marketing and sales leads, an ad campaign needs more than just an attention-grabber of web traffic – it needs a means to convert them. When possible, a solid sweepstakes can be the real MVP of an ad campaign. For the Draft Day campaign, Caterpillar pulled out the stops for a 3-month rental of a Mini Excavator (up to a $10,000 value) for four lucky winners. We knew this would be an enticing offer for the target audience, and it proved to be a powerful motivator for potential customers.



The campaign was a sweeping success, and not just in the eyes of Caterpillar and its customer base – it received high honors from marketing and advertising awards across the industry, including:



The Cat Draft Day campaign ran from Summer 2021 through the first quarter of 2022. In that time, it garnered nearly 18 million impressions across all platforms. On, the Draft Day videos boasted a 46% burn-down rate, meaning almost half of the people who clicked on a video watched through the call-to-action – a full 15% better performance than other videos on the site. Most importantly, half of the sweepstakes entrants also opted in for marketing emails from Caterpillar. That means new customers! Even better, 7% of entrants became qualified sales leads. And it all added up to a major award-winning feat.

From the crowd reaction to the final scoreboard, the verdict was clear: Draft Day was a game-changer for promoting the new Cat mini excavators.

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