The "Human Billboard" Campaign Has Sports Implications

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!

Bring Your Out-of-Home Campaigns to Life with Steam!

Are you looking for new ways to leverage team partners? Are you looking for ways to bring the excitement of your games to life for fans during the work week?

McDonald's recently teamed up with Cossette, an advertising agency based out of Vancouver, Canada to create a stimulating out-of-home campaign designed to drive awareness for the chain's coffee offerings. Cossette built a steam machine to fit inside a bus shelter that let off periodic bursts of steam, revealing a hidden message about a McDonald's free coffee promotion.

The creative outdoor campaign, executed to perfection, offers some parallels for sports marketers looking for new ways to stimulate consumer awareness:

  • Teams can promote an upcoming season (and leverage a home improvement/grill partner) by featuring a branded miniature grill giving off steam that reveals the slogan, "It's Time to Kickoff the Season... Are You Ready?"
  • NASCAR (and/or participating teams/sponsors) can feature a visual of a car smoking with a captivating message
  • Teams can feature of a picture of players running out of the tunnel with smoke (e.g. steam) exploding from the visual (think of the Miami Hurricanes running out of the tunnel with the steam)
  • The Miami Heat (and teams with related fire monikers) could feature an outdoor ad with steam to show opponents cooling off
  • Teams can leverage coffee vendors (as seen in the ad) by touting exclusive season-long promotional offers

Sony Ericsson Invades Toronto to Promote WTA...

Are you looking for ways to make a splash in major media markets? Are you looking for unconventional ways to drive awareness for a team/league?

Sony Ericsson recently featured a guerrilla-style street tennis exhibition in downtown Toronto to promote the start of the WTA Rogers Cup. The global phone manufacturer, known for executing unique stunts, relied on a small team of staff to create a special street court environment on Toronto's Yonge Street for tennis stars Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki to compete in a unique fashion.

The street-style tennis promotion served as an effective way for Sony Ericsson to drive some attention around its title sponsorship of the WTA Tour. The stunt took place on Toronto's Yonge Street, the longest (and one of the most traveled) street in Canada.

Check out Sony Ericsson's execution of the event below:

Event Photos: JCaterer's Flickr Photos

Are Your Bathrooms Interactive?

Are you looking for new ways to engage consumers in the bathroom? Are you looking for non-traditional ways to leverage partners in the auto category?

In 2008, Mini Cooper devised a unique guerrilla marketing strategy to grab the attention of consumers using the urinals while out on the town. One unlucky person was tasked with gluing mini cones inside the urinals, setting up a "Test Your Handling Skills" competition for all users later that night.

When consumers went to use the bathroom they were met with the "Test Your Handling Skills" messaging and the skill cones competition. The creative campaign served as a great way to grab the attention of consumers in crowded settings, etc.

What are some sports implications here? This concept can easily be applied in many respects to the sports marketplace, especially for brands looking to escape the stadium clutter. Teams can consider tying in corporate partners through:

  • NBA/MLS organizatons - "Test Your Dribbling Skills"
  • NHL organizations - "Test Your Puck Handling Skills"
  • NASCAR - Feature urinals that mirror Mini Cooper's execution (or feature an oval)
  • NFL organizations - "Cone Drill'
  • MLB organizations - "Round the Bases"