Let's Play Ball! Know who won the World Series in 1929? If you're a Mutual of Omaha agent, you probably do. Every year, the company runs a three-month Baseball Contest to boost summer sales. The prize? A trip to two World Series games. So what does that have to do with the 1929 World Series? That's the year Mutual of Omaha held its first Baseball Contest. This is a tradition wrapped in a tradition.

Which makes the promotion campaign an annual challenge. In order to inspire rookies and urge veteran agents to go for it again, explains Ken Juel, manager, sales incentives and recognition programs, the planning and design team often plays off the theme of the year's Chairman's Council, the company's major springtime incentive conference. Of course, baseball itself offers any number of motivational slogans and phrases: "Let's play ball!" is just the beginning.

Mutual of Omaha launched the contest to spark sales in what is traditionally the insurance industry's slowest sales period: the summer. In fact, Juel says, the company has turned that traditional wisdom on its ear and now counts the third quarter as its second-best quarter for sales. "We attribute that directly to the Baseball Contest," he notes.

So who won in '29? The Philadelphia (now Oakland) Athletics.

Company: Mutual of Omaha

Event: 2000 Baseball Contest

Site: Top prize is a trip to two World Series games, alternating between National League and American League cities each year.

Dates: Games 3 & 4

Qualification Period: April 25 to July 31

Qualifying Attendees: World Series trips are awarded to 36 agents, 20 district sales managers, and 17 general managers.

Total Attendees (including home office and staff): 85

The Creative Team: Kris Condon, Bridget Rohan, Kevin Kiel, Marie Looney, Ken Juel