It started as a simple post-win routine for the Newsome High School softball team in the suburbs of Tampa, Fla; something to up the school pride quotient for the group of 19 players who spend the majority of their softball time trying to catch the eye of college scouts while playing on a higher-profile traveling team. But it quickly became much more for the coach, players and fans of their high school team: an inspirational ritual based in sports superstition and pop culture … powered by Progressive.
At the start of the Newsome Wolves softball season, Coach Ed Davis introduced a new tradition for the team: after each game, he shook sprinkles over the players’ heads because—you guessed it—sprinkles are for winners. Flo said it herself in Progressive’s ad “After School Special,” and that’s exactly where Ed got his inspiration.
“When we first saw the commercial—my wife and I and my two daughters—and heard that ‘sprinkles are for winners’ at the end, we all just lost it,” explains Ed. “We were literally laughing out loud together. I thought it was a great commercial, and it provides a great message.”
The message—work hard and have fun—worked to boost the team’s morale and, thanks to their tenacity and quiet confidence, the Wolves brought home the Class 8A state champion title on Saturday, May 9. And with that, they made history. It’s the Wolves first state softball title … and the school’s first team title in any sport. A feat that’s even more remarkable when you consider that this team was unranked at the start of the tournament, and had a losing record last season.
We learned about the team’s sprinkles ritual shortly before the big championship win and captured their story, including how Flo’s catchy quip inspired them. Of course, we also awarded the team their own “sprinkles are for winners” t-shirts.
“’Sprinkles are for winners’ has really taken on a life of its own,” said Progressive CMO Jeff Charney. “From the pros to the little leagues, celebrities and fans across the country have taken Flo’s four powerful words to heart: it’s great to give it your best, but maybe next time when you work even harder, you’ll earn the sprinkles.”
Photo Credit: Bud Leistl 2015