Sports organizations looking for new ways to make a huge splash in the offseason with a nominal marketing budget should consider benchmarking a terrific campaign recently implemented by ING Direct in Italy.
ING Direct had discovered that word-of-mouth referrals by existing customers served as a key driver for bringing in new business. ING looked to bring this notion to life by teaming up with Leo Burnett Milan to create a "Human Billboard" campaign that featured real customers sitting and standing atop billboards, strapped onto the side of city buses, and positioned on elevated displays in high-traffic areas inside a city setting.
The campaign proved to be tremendously popular, as consumers passing by the displays interacted with the brand activists, creating banter that was filmed and featured in an effective advertising campaign.
The concept of the "Human Billboard" could have a number of implications in the sports space. Minor league teams looking to drive interest and awareness in the local marketplace could leverage season ticket holders and enthusiastic supporters in a similar fan-centric campaign. Marathons, triathlons and other major events could also implement a similar promotional concept to show how "real" participants are. Apparel companies and other manufacturers of products endemic to sports could also consider benchmarking the ING Direct campaign to bring product launches to life, etc.
Check out the terrific campaign below!