SAS Made an A.I. Batting Cage That Teaches Kids About Data

The program helped improve their swings, too

Keep that front leg straight! Finish your swing! Follow the ball with your arms and straighten them out! One day, you'll work in Silicon Valley!

Leveraging kids' love for baseball, software brand SAS built an A.I.-powered batting cage designed to improve youngsters' hitting technique—and teach them about the real-world applications of data science.

Via cameras and sensors, the "Batting Lab" analyzed the stances and follow-throughs of 11 kids, ages 9-13, over several weeks. The swings of players from North Carolina State University's baseball and softball squads served as "optimal examples," providing comparison points.

As they honed their skills in the batter's box, fine-tuning launch angles, bat speed and such, the kids got an up-close view of statistics solving highly relatable problems. Presumably, this gave them a taste for the tech jobs they might hold down in the future. (Sure, they'd rather play in the big leagues. But statistically speaking, that's pretty unlikely.)

You can check out the program below. (Dig those SASsy logo-caps and uniforms!)

"Over half of American kids play baseball and softball, but less than half understand data," says Kassandra Pollard, associate creative director at McCann New York, which developed the initiative. "So, when we uncovered the fact that the ability to read, work with, and communicate using data will be the most in-demand job skill by 2030, we knew we had to do something to help."

In a broader sense, the push, timed to Major League Baseball's All-Star Game festivities next week, probes the data literacy gap among today's youth, and seeks to spark conversations addressing such issues. There's even a "Data Playbook" with guidance and worksheets for kids and parents designed to boost their confidence in using analytics.

Ultimately, the Batting Lab targets SAS's core audience: technologists, executives and decision makers with purchasing authority at companies large and small. It portrays the brand as forward-thinking team player helping the next generation step up to the plate.

Riding earned and owned media, campaign elements will run through the fall across Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and various OLV platforms, with amplification from ESPN and Sports Illustrated, plus an MLB sponsorship and coverage from Reuters during the World Series.


SAS Credits
Jenn Chase, Chief Marketing Officer
Susan Ellis, Brand Director
Natalie Osborn, Senior Director, Brand Marketing and Creative
Mirko Mueller-Goolsbey, Director, Brand Marketing
Cassie Lutterman, Brand Content & Experiences
Katherine Powers, Associate Marketing Specialist
Chris Patti, Creative Director
Shawn Gillen, Strategic Creative Leader
Nikki Gusse, Senior Producer
Jared Dean, Data Scientist
Lucy Kosturko, Education Initiatives Manager
Jennifer Sabourin, Research Scientist and Senior Software Developer
Mike Nemecek, Public Relations Lead
Suzanne Sprajcar Beldycki, Director Integrated Communications
Shannon Heath, Corporate & Executive Communications
Elizabeth Creech, Senior Marketing Manager
Mibbie Plouvier, Principal Digital Media Marketer
Melissa Hannah, Data-driven Social Media Specialist
Pamela Meek, Global Head of Communications
Mark Lawrence, Studio and Location Production Manager
Jesse Olley, Senior Multimedia Production Specialist
Brie Boothby, Senior Associate Social Media Specialist
Evan Markfield, Corporate Social Innovation and Brand Storyteller
Scott Calderwood, Director of Digital Marketing, Global Web Strategy and Digital Experience
Eric Morales, Sr Manager, Web User Experience Design
Jeff McFall, 3D and Motion Graphics Design Manager
Thomas Richardson, Sr Event Design Project Manager
Mike Weiss, Sr Artisan/Designer

Sean Bryan, Co-Chief Creative Officer North America
Pierre Lipton, Co-Chief Creative Officer NY
Shayne Millington, Co-Chief Creative Officer NY
Jason Ashlock, SVP Executive Creative Director
Dominick Baccollo, SVP Executive Creative Director
Daniel Kim, SVP Group Creative Director
Justin Chen, SVP Group Creative Director
Kassandra Pollard, Associate Creative Director
Gabby Gonzaga, Junior Art Director
Kayla Andersen, Junior Copywriter
Adam Koehler, VP Creative Director
Elana Sasson, Design Ops Director
Ethan Buller, Design Director
Herman Awuku, Senior Designer
Kevin Nelson, Managing Director McCann NY
Liz Der, SVP Executive Account Director
Pat Six, VP Account Director
Bill Powers, Account Director
Shenea Walker, Assistant Account Executive
Dominic Poynter, SVP Executive Comms Strategy Director
Will Zweigart, VP Comms Strategy Director
Sam Chotiner, SVP Global Strategy Director
Daniel Lammon, VP Strategy Director
Caitlin O’Malley, Senior Strategist
Camille Dagorn, VP Creator Partnerships
Christine Lane, Executive Director, Innovation & Production
Mihae Mukaida, SVP Executive Director of Innovation
Jeannette Subero, Senior Innovation Producer
Melanie Olar, Innovation Producer
Diane Knarr, Digital Producer
Nathy Aviram, Chief Production Officer, McCann and CRAFT North America
Aaron Kovan, Chief Production Officer
Chris Badano, Senior Producer
Kelly Krincek, Junior Producer
Annie Panousopoulos, UX Architect
Julia Brown, Associate Director of Project Management
Amanda Lang, Senior Project Manager
Jeremy Miller, Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
Victoria Park, Director of Communications
Terry Marcello, VP Director Talent Payment
Eric Johnson, SVP Executive Integrated Music Producer
Colleen Dahlstrom, Music Producer
Jamie Jou, Music Business Manager
Madeline McCarty, Business Affairs Manager

Experience Design
Design Studio: OBJ
Merica May, Partner

Consultant on Curriculum Development
Steve Malley, Coaching Sports Writer

Production Design and Development
Production Design Studio: Volvox Labs
Kamil Nawratil, Partner / Creative Director
Ben Forest, Technical Director
Zyia Zhang, Physical Experience Designer
Gilad Dor, Producer
Matthew Ross, Technologist
Pasakorn Nontananandh, Motion Designer
Preto HF, Motion Designer
Yalan Wen, Motion Designer
Maxwell Smith, Fabrication Project Manager
Benjamin Mosca, Fabricator
AJ Sapala, Fabricator
Ciara Smith, Fabricator / Seamstress

Production Company: Craft
SVE Head of Content NA: Adam Hirsch
Director(s): Brett Berman & Sam Rimland
Senior Producer: Zoey Greene
DP: Brett Berman & Sam Rimland

Editorial House: No6
Editor: Nicholas Schneider
Asst Editor: Julie Walsh
EP: Corina Dennison
Producer: Jen Milano
Finishing: Mark Reyes
Colorist: Matthew Rosenblum
Mix: Gerard McConville (Craft)

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