TCU Athletics Kicks off the 2011 Season with an Inspirational Video

TCU Athletics recently unveiled one of the finest season preview videos seen in the collegiate marketplace to date. While most athletic programs create montages filled with highlights, game action, and profiles of players and coaches, TCU Athletics teamed up with Red Productions to take a much different approach.

The 2011 TCU Football video effectively portrays how the Horned Frogs fanbase are part of something that's much bigger than just a football season. The video demonstrates how TCU Football is about a spirited community of all ages that stands united through all situations.

What's great about the video is that it creates a true sense of community, showing the fanbase (wearing licensed Nike gear) consuming TCU football at home, at retail, and live in the stadium. TCU Athletics also did a great job embedding a link in the YouTube video description to drive consumers to purchase tickets.

Check it out below!

McDonald's Capitalizes on Cubs Fever with Clever Billboard

McDonald's is capitalizing on the buzz surrounding the 2011 Chicago Cubs baseball season with a terrific billboard display just outside Wrigley Field. The billboard uses McDonald's french fries to illustrate the laces of a baseball - an absolutely brilliant marketing campaign.

Look for more creative marketing tactics to come throughout the season!

Source: Kelly Hafermann's Flickr Photostream 

The Knicks Celebrate Amar'e With a Special Jumbotron Melody

As New York Knicks supporters continue to rejoice about the arrivals of Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the team has continue to find new ways to deliver value for their fanbase.

The team apparently teamed up with Cousin Tommy to create a special version of "Amare" that is featured on the jumbotron at Madison Square Garden during games. Check it out below! (hopefully the vignette is real)...

CBS Outdoor Delivers a Best-In-Class Billboard Campaign for the Twins

CBS Outdoor recently posted a tremendous video that showcases the work involved with creating a captivating outdoor billboard campaign to promote the grand opening of the Target Field in 2010. The video details all of the work involved with the installation phase of the OOH project, providing viewers with an inside look at all of the elements involved with creating a best-in-class campaign to promote the Twins new home for years to come.

Check out the video below: 

Gillette Turns Static Jeter Billboard Into a Shaving Spectacle

Gillette recently unveiled a tremendous "Everyday Masterpiece" OOH campaign in New York City's SoHo neighborhood that features a Derek Jeter billboard being repainted daily to reflect the various stages of men's grooming.

Gillette teamed up with BBDO to create the campaign, which demonstrates how brands can turn a static medium into an interactive medium with a little bit of creativity and extra work. The Jeter campaign features a depiction of the All-Star shortstop's face that is repainted on a daily basis to reflect a stubble look, shave prep, and a clean shaven appearance. BBDO is planning on continuing the three-day paint makeover cycle until March 6th.

Check out a video and a few images that help showcase the creative campaign below:





Additional Insights:

Vitaminwater Salutes Ray Allen's Historic Moment in Style

Vitaminwater recently celebrated Ray Allen's historic moment setting the NBA's record for most three-point shots in a career by creating a fantastic tribute video that featured remarks from a collection of famous Bostonians, athletes, Celtics teammates, celebrities, musicians, and fans.

Vitaminwater really did a great job making the piece all about Ray (a Vitaminwater endorser), with subtle signage and product placement featured throughout. As brands continue to look for ways to be authentic and endemic in the sports space, one can expect that we will soon begin to see more congratulatory viral posts being produced, as they are inexpensive, heartfelt, and effectively cater to a variety of fan bases.

Check out Vitaminwater's memorable salute to Ray Allen below:

The video featured appearances by Dropkick Murphys, Patriots receiver Wes Welker, UCONN men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun, Ray Allen's wife and mother, actor Donnie Wahlberg, Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino, Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, several Boston media personalities, and more.

On a side note, Brand Jordan also congratulated Ray Allen on setting the NBA's all-time 3-point record with 2,561 baskets by releasing a commemorative viral that recently eclipsed 50,000+ hits on YouTube. Check it out below:

Modell's Uses Athletes in Disguise to Create a Hit Viral Series

Over the past few months, Modell's Sporting Goods has released a terrific viral series featuring professional athletes disguised as employees trying to sell their own jerseys.

The series kicked off in December when Modell's teamed up with Reebok to send Patriots RB Danny Woodhead to a retail location to push apparel. Standing 5-feet-9-inches tall, Woodhead served as the perfect athlete in disguise, as he went largely unnoticed and was even referred to as being "too little" by a shopper. The stunt, secretly captured on camera, became an instant hit with fans across the globe and generated 1MM+ views in a matter of days.

The second segment of the series featured prominent Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posing undercover at a Modell's location in the greater Philadelphia area. Unlike Woodhead, Jackson was recognized by several shoppers but the filmed publicity stunt still managed to generate a significant amount of traction online with 108K+ views on YouTube. 

After producing two (2) viral hits, Modell's continued the series in February by sending New York Knicks rookie guard Landry Fields to a select retail location. An extremely animated Fields did a tremendous job posing as a Modell's employee named Leeroy Fields. The 6'7 forward did just about everything possible to call attention to himself (and his jersey), helping Modell's create yet another viral sensation.

Check out the three (3) classic retail stunts below: 

New England Patriots Running Back Danny Woodhead

Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson

New York Knicks Guard Landry Fields

Nike "Throws Down" a New Spot to Promote Its Nike Free Shoes

Nike recently released a pretty catchy "Throwdown" advert that demonstrates what happens when athletes from a variety of sports challenge the skills and technique of one another. The spot serves as a great lifestyle play that is designed to promote Nike's "Free" shoes.

It is always interesting to see brands like Nike and Gatorade capture and profile athletes competing in a variety of sports in their campaigns. While it is easier for these brands to do so because they offer products that are so endemic to sport, it would be interesting to see non-traditional sponsors take a similar approach with their campaigns, highlighting a variety of their sponsorships in their campaigns.  

Check out the new Nike "Throwdown" spot below and be sure to follow the campaign on Twitter by using the hashtag #NikeFree:

Nike also created a Throwdown spot that specifically targets female athletes:

Reebok Releases Series of Crosby Virals to Promote Hockey Gear

In mid-November, Reebok released a series of new virals starring Penguins center Sidney Crosby that have intrigued hockey fans across the globe for the past few weeks. The spots, designed to promote Reebok's hockey gear (particularly the new 11K Sickick III hockey stick), are extremely well produced. 

Both videos, "Sidney Crosby Pyramid Trick" and "Crosby Testing Out His New Stick", are very realistic in nature and make it very hard to decipher whether they have been doctored in any way... But it appears that they have been slightly. As Blake Rosekrans of GMR Marketing pointed out, in the "Sidney Crosby Pyramid Trick" piece, there are no pucks where Crosby is shooting from at the :13 mark but when the camera pans back to him (:18 mark) there are two pucks on the ice. 

Regardless, the campaign was extremely well executed and has served as a terrific way to drive buzz and traffic to the Reebok Hockey Facebook page (which was embedded on the YouTube page for both virals). Both virals have generated 100K+ views and will continue to generate buzz.

Check out the two virals below:

Reebok Leverages Nicole Scherzinger and Digital Billboards in New Ways

Reebok recently teamed up with M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment to launch its new ZigTech trainer in the UK with a magnificent live digital billboard show. Reebok featured Nicole Scherzinger, the popular lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, on the billboard via a live stream interacting with a crowd of consumers on hand to watch the publicity stunt.

Per, Reebok featured Scherzinger on hand for an open photo session and then escorted her to a private area behind the screen where she interacted with the public via two way cameras that were attached to the digital billboard. The event signaled how brands can utilize digital out-of-home billboards to leverage their athlete/celebrity endorsements in new ways in conjunction with special events, product launches, gameday events, etc.

As the technology becomes more readily adopted, team partners can leverage this to take their retail player appearances to new heights as well as special gameday events for large crowds of fans. The stunt was terrific because Reebok demonstrated how to bring a relatively static medium to life at one of the most notable shopping centers in the United Kingdom.

Check it out below:

LSU Athletics Shows Fans How to Fit in at Tiger Stadium

Sports organizations looking to create new, engaging videos to feature on their websites during the off-season should consider benchmarking a recent "How to Fit in at Tiger Stadium" piece developed by LSU Athletics. The video is unique, humorous, and educational as it sends a clear message to fans.

Check it this classic piece below:

Nike Demonstrates the Life Cycle of Its Brand with Soccer Viral

Nike does a terrific job demonstrating the life cycle of its brand in a recent piece created for the Czech football club AC Sparta Praha. In the spot, Nike demonstrates how an athlete matures with the brand throughout the various stages in his/her life. From birth to adolescence to playing professionally, there is one constant in sports - wearing the same brand of apparel because you believe in it.

The low-budget spot is extremely well done and serves as a great benchmark for any brand looking to showcase how consumers use their brand throughout the various stages of their lives.

Nike 6.0 Lets Snowboarders Live/Play at Marco's Mansion

Brands looking for new ways to capture the action/extreme sports crowd should take a close look at a recent viral from Nike entitled, "Marco's Mansion". To capture the attention of snowboard enthusiasts who wish they could live on top of the mountain, Nike 6.0 created a man-made igloo (called Marco's Mansion) that a team of notable snowboarders could throw down on all day and sleep in at night.

The concept of the piece is extremely creative and is a great way to drive some incremental interest in the sport and several notable personalities (Marco Smolla and his gang).

Check it out below:

Gillette Turns to Kenny Mayne & His Razor to Connect With Sports Fans

Gillette has turned to famed ESPN Personality Kenny Mayne (@Kenny_Mayne) to promote its new line of Fusion ProGlide products and help drive connects with young male sports fans. Gillette recently unveiled a series of virals entitled, "A Man & His Razor" that have already begun to create a stir in the social media marketplace.

The virals feature Mayne using and conversing about Gillette Fusion ProGlide products during his daily routine on the set at ESPN and behind-the-scenes.  The success of the campaign demonstrates that not just current/former athletes and coaches serve as effective spokesmen in the sports marketplace - select reporters and television personalities can have a strong influence with fans as well.

Check out Gillette's four (4) terrific virals starring Kenny Mayne below and plenty more from the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Challenge Ultimate Summer Job tour here.

Puma Pulls Off An Epic Cape Town Stadium Stunt (If It's Real)

How will the 2010 World Cup be remembered?

Arguments can be made for missed calls, heroic performances, the Jabulani factor, and the return of Maradona. But if there is anything that's certain, it is the fact that consumers are witnessing some of the most creative sports marketing ideas and campaigns ever produced in the soccer space.   

While the world's finest teams have battled it out on the pitch in South Africa, the world's leading apparel/footwear brands have been battling it out in the trenches. Both Nike and adidas have created some terrific ads, viral pieces, Facebook campaigns, and OOH campaigns. But it should be noted that Puma is holding its own too...

Puma secretly unveiled an epic Cape Town Stadium Stunt in support of its global "Love = Football" campaign. It's a wonder how they pulled off this stunt (if it's real, did they use buses and taxis?), but it just goes to show that with a little creativity, every brand can steal a piece of the pie.

Check out the epic Puma viral stunt below (especially the 1:12 mark)!

The Wizards Welcome John Wall to Washington D.C.

Sports organizations looking for new ways to drive awareness around the signings up marquee draft picks and free agents should check out a recent piece the Washington Wizards featured on their team website to welcome rookie PG John Wall to the city.

The piece is extremely well done - incorporating Ted Leonsis, members of the Wizards/Mystics organization, fans in the local community, and the most recognizable local athletes (McNabb, Ovechkin, Stasburg), and celebrities in Washington D.C. Check it out here!

A special thanks to Mike Rodriguez for his insights and contributions to this column! 

Vodafone Emphasizes Teamwork with F1 Viral

Vodafone recently unveiled a tremendous viral piece that features its star F1 drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, scrambling to put together the pieces of their car after their pit crew team decides to leave. The viral piece does a great job emphasizing the integral role that all team members play on the Vodafone race team. No star is bigger than the teammates and personnel that support him/her. 

Check out the piece below!

Nike Takes You Inside Their 2010 OOH World Cup Execution

With the 2010 World Cup in South Africa just a few days away, Nike recently released a really cool viral piece that demonstrates how they wrapped the side of the Southern Life building in Johannesburg with an inspiring campaign.

Check out the viral piece below... It does a terrific job providing an inside look at their behind-the-scenes execution!

Kevin Durant Takes You Along On His Journey to China

Kevin Durant truly understands what it takes to become a global icon. The superstar forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder recently toured China with the support of Nike basketball and chronicled his experiences along the way with a series of shorts that he recently featured on his Official YouTube Channel - OfficialKevinDurant. Durant also posted a collection of photos from his journey on Facebook here.

The short YouTube viral pieces help Durant demonstrate that he's more than just a superstar athlete that is touring the world for all of the fame and glory. The vignettes show Durant interacting with Chinese consumers 1-to-1 and via social media, playing pickup games of hoops with aspiring players, expressing his thoughts on the country of China as a whole, and visiting their traditional locales.

Durant's terrific viral  pieces will hopefully serve as a benchmark for sports marketers looking for new ways to take their organizations and brands global through true, personal interaction.

Check out the clips below: