Case Study


When the greatest relief pitcher in MLB history wanted a brand created, Brand Shepherd was called up to help.

Mariano Rivera, aka Mo, aka The Sandman, is the game of baseball’s greatest closer of all time. His legacy is unmatched in professional sports, and he remains a man who is constantly giving of himself.

When he decided to launch a brand that bore his name, Brand Shepherd was called up to help create the brand, the product packaging, and the brand architecture.

We applied our Pastura Framework for brand development and go-to-market strategy to build the best possible brand for a living legend.

Our 3-Pitch Plan

Using our Pastura Framework, we proposed the Mo Brand be built with Vibe, Tribe, and Why.

The Tribe: Nostalgia = Activations

Nostalgia is a significant influence, specifically on those who remember Mariano’s career. 

Our strategy begins by leading with Mariano Rivera as the face of the brand. This brand is about him, his reputation, and his integrity. Every product in the Mo Brands stable would follow likewise.

By leading with Mariano, we would instantly benefit from nostalgia. Millions of baseball fans would be activated to see what Mo’s brand is all about. Instant market separation.

The Vibe: Send in the Closer for The Afternoon Slump

The Mo Bar would be the first energy bar had to set itself apart in an already cramped niche.

Mariano was baseball’s best closing pitcher, ever.

Our strategy lent that expertise to the Mo Bar by positioning it as the bar you eat when the 3pm Slump hits – when you need something to help you close the day.

No other product in the energy bar category was targeting time of day. Perfect opportunity. Perfect brand positioning.

The Why: Eat A Mo Bar to Close Strong, Save The Day.™

The legacy of Mariano Rivera is that he is the single best expert at closing for a big win. 

Our strategy for Mo Brands would be summed up in a single tagline suitable only for a Mariano Rivera brand:

“Close Strong, Save The Day.”

We created over 50 creative mockups to demonstrate variations of the "Close Strong, Save The Day" positioning.

Here are just 4 of those concepts.

Using our Pastura Framework for brand strategy, we created a robust Brand Experience Guide for the MO BAR brand.

Did our ideas win big?

Did MO BARS go to market as we pitched?


We Struck Out…

But Got The Win For The Brand.

As the project developed, the brand management team decided to pivot the brand’s focus away from the person and to the products.

Specifically, because Mo Bars fall into the wildly popular trend of Functional CPG. Since each bar has a nutritional function focus, that became the focal point of the brand instead of Mariano Rivera’s reputation.

We agreed to disagree on the strategy and hold to our original position as the better idea to this day.

Yet it’s not our brand. Ultimately, those who own the brand have to go to market with the positioning they believe in most, even if it isn’t what we advise.

This is one of Brand Shepherd’s most defining characteristics: Humility.

Rather than sulking in defeat, we did what we always do: We created the very best possible versions of what the client wanted to go to market with, and we caught a few blind spots during the process that helped protect the brand.

The brand management team redesigned the packaging and we made it production-ready. They also redesigned the ad creative and we simply made sure it was consistent with the Brand Experience Guide’s style specs.

Mo Bars officially launched in mid-2022 with a D2C + Amazon approach.

What An Honor!

We were given an opportunity to work with an honorable man and baseball legend, Mariano Rivera, it is nothing short of an honor to just be part of it.

We are delighted to have been part of getting the Mo Bars to market. 

Thank you, Mariano and team, for this collaboration.

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