In recent years, Olympic athletes have taken many different approaches to support their training regimens, NGB's, and lifestyle.With the 2012 London Olympic Games less than 300 days away, U.S. Olympic hopeful Nick Symmonds recently set up an auction on eBay that allowed one (1) brand an opportunity to place a temporary tattoo on his shoulder for the 2012 track and field season.
With the auction open for bid by any company/agency, Milwaukee-based Hanson Dodge Creative (HDC) capitalized on the opportunity and placed a winning bid of $11,100 for the rights to place their brand's Twitter handle (@HansonDodge) on Symmonds' shoulder during several upcoming races, including the Sydney Grand Prix and possibly the Olympic Games if Symmonds qualifies.
What's interesting about the Symmonds-Hanson Dodge Creative partnership is that it entails much more than a standard agency branding play. As a leading active lifestyle agency, Symmonds will serve as a Running and Outdoor Active Lifestyle Advisor for Hanson Dodge and will help the agency develop a dedicated Advisory Board. In turn, Hanson Dodge will work with Symmonds to strengthen his personal brand through strategic marketing communications recommendations and drive his business efforts.
The Symmonds-Hanson Dodge Creative partnership serves as a great case study of how athletes (across all sports) are working more closely with agencies and other entities to build their personal brands. While ambush marketing remains a key concern heading into the London 2012 Olympic Games, it will be interesting to see if more athletes turn to similar auction processes to generate awareness and sponsorship dollars. HDC's partnership with Symmonds is very smart, as it serves as a very strong positioning play and will surely generate a return (from media exposure) that exceeds their investment.