Wendy's Lets CFL Fans Compete to Kick for a Million Dollars

Over the past seven years, Wendy's has captured the interests and attention of millions of football fans throughout Canada by offering a Kick for a Million promotional platform that rewards CFL fans for eating at its chain locations.

The QSR chain leverages its status as an official partner of the Canadian Football League as well as a media partnership with TSN to feature a live halftime promotional contest that offers one lucky fan a chance to kick a 50-yard field goal for the chance to win $1 million. In addition, Wendy's grants the participant an opportunity to also attempt field goals from 20, 30, and 40 yards for the chance to also win a Samsung $25,000 Family Package, a 2011 Nissan Titan Crew Cab Pro, and $100,000 cash.

Fans can participate in the Kick to Win contest by visiting participating Wendy's locations throughout Canada to receive a game cup that offers a chance to win a variety of instant prizes, including Nissan automobiles, Samsung Galaxy tablets, Reebok merchandise, and Wendy's gift cards and food prizes. Fans who purchase Wendy's on a regular basis can also receive bonus entries for the chance to kick for $1 million.

The structure of the promotion, offering a series of lower-tier prizes, demonstrates how league partners can collaborate to amplify promotional events - both in-stadium and at retail. In total, Wendy's Kick for a Million contest generated 18 million entries - the most ever in the history of the contest. Wendy's has even attracted 11,000+ fans to "like" the promotion's official Facebook page.

Check out Wendy's Kick for a Million promotional video below:

Check out Wendy's Kick for a Million contest execution here:

A special thanks to Kelsey Philpott of GMR Marketing for his insights and contributions to this column!

Audi Leverages its Real Madrid Partnership By Giving All First-Team Players Free Cars

In professional sports, automobile providers typically leverage their official team partnerships with a slew of traditional assets that include stadium car displays, test drive programs, venue destination buildouts, branded parking lots, prominent signage, and other high-end amenities.

However in Spain, Audi recently took its official partnership of Real Madrid C.F. to another level by giving a brand new car to every player on the first-team squad. Audi marked the occasion by having the team of players compete in a recreational grand prix go car contest for press and select guests in attendance.

Following the event, several Real Madrid players including Cristiano Ronaldo shared nothing but praises for the Audi brand and its high-quality automobiles. While Audi's gift-giving practice comes at a high expense, it serves as a great way to showcase it's fleet of cars in a compelling way to millions of Real Madrid fans across the globe.

Check out Audi's unique press announcement below:

Adidas Builds an Interactive Wall to Showcase the History of the World Cup

Adidas recently created a splash by building a massive interactive touch screen wall that is designed to promote the upcoming World Cup tournaments in Brazil (2014) and Russia (2018). Adidas worked with a team at Interactive Labs to develop an 18-foot long interactive wall that provides users with a unique opportunity to learn about the history of the World Cup.

The touch screen wall is an absolute spectacle and is something that fans can expect to see at notable sports events, concerts, and festivals in the future. Interactive walls are terrific activation displays to feature on-site at events because they serve as impactful educational tools that offer seamless opportunities for corporate partner integration and engage multiple consumers in one setting.

Check out the display below:

A special thanks to Bertrand Leseigneur (@BloginNYC) for his insights and contributions to this column!

Betfair Finds Creative Ways to Win Over Manchester United Supporters

Betfair, the world's largest betting exchange, has leveraged its designation as an official partner of Manchester United with flashes of brilliance over the past few weeks.

With the Manchester Derby set to take place in just a few days, Betfar found a creative way to capitalize on the only thing that unites Manchester United and Manchester City fans - their hatred for Carlos Tevez. Tevez, an Argentine striker who left Manchester United to join Manchester City in 2009, has become the most hated man in Manchester after refusing to come off the bench and play and will soon be on his way out of town.

Betfair celebrated Manchester's united hatred for Carlos Tevez by creating a "Trash Your Tevez Shirt" initiative that features a trash truck, branded ManU red on one side and Man City blue ont he other, driving through Manchester rewarding any fans who trash their Tevez jersey with a brand new one. Betfair's PR stunt has attracted a notable amount of worldwide attention and will likely be something that soccer fans in Manchester will remember for a lifetime.

Check it out below:

In late September, Betfair teamed up with several of Manchester United's star players to create a "Stars and Strikes" campaign that allowed fans to bet (for fun) on which player they thought would win in a game of football bowling. As part of the challenge, Betfair gave Ashley Young, Dimitar Berbatov, Patrice Evra, and a few others 40 seconds to try to knock down ten pins using lightweight footballs.

Check out the campaign below, which has attracted 345,000+ views:

Here's a behind-the-scenes look of how the "Stars and Strikes" campaign was made:

The Ravens Team Up with Jos. A. Bank to Host A Purple Fridays Promotion

The Baltimore Ravens recently announced a non-traditional partnership with Jos. A. Bank, a high-end men's clothing retailer. As part of the partnership, ten (10) Jos. A. Bank store locations in the Baltimore, MD and York, PA DMA will run a "Purple Fridays"promotion, encouraging fans to wear purple to work on Fridays throughout the 2011 season. Each of the stores will dedicated a special section within their stores to sportshirts, ties, sweaters, and dress shirts in shades of purple.

It will be interesting to see if more professional sports organizations look to form partnerships with similar high-end retailers, as it generates buzz and awareness in non-traditional retail outlets and enables teams to target a higher-income fanbase.

Jos. A. Bank will support also its partnership with the Ravens through direct mail, radio, television, and online advertising and it would be intriguing to see if they also consider running a sweeps that offers free suite tickets to a game.

The Falcons Team Up with the Georgia Lottery and Waffle House on a New Instant Win Game

The Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia Lottery are taking their instant win lottery game to new heights through a partnership with the Waffle House. The collaborating parties recently announced the launch of the $5 "In the House" instant win game, which allows fans a chance to win $250,000 and many other great prizes. Through the partnership with Waffle House, all non-winning tickets can also be redeemed for a free waffle and a second-chance drawing for a chance to win a $200,000 dream home makeover.

The Falcons, Waffle House, and the Georgia Lottery have collaborated on several initiatives to help drive awareness for the "In the House" game, including a plethora of branding and activation at the Falcons first few games of the season.

Check out some ways that the Falcons, Waffle House, and the Georgia Lottery are bringing the initiative to life for fans on gameday below: 

Activation at Falcons Landing

Halftime "In the House" Performance Featuring a Prominent Branding Stunt at Mid-Field

Falcons Cheerleader Video Messages

Endesa Leverages Title Partnership with a Game at Its Corporate Headquarters

It's become very interesting to see how brands across the globe are leveraging their title partnerships in new, innovative ways.

In Spain, an International utility company named Endesa recently signed on as a title partner of a premier Spanish Pro Basketball League. To celebrate the partnership, Endesa built a basketball court inside their corporate headquarters and organized a game featuring some of the league's star players, cheerleaders, music, and live entertainment. Over 1,000 people enjoyed the live basketball game, which was played in the mail hall of Endesa's company headquarters in Spain.

Players were also invited to tour Endesa's facilities and have an opportunity to meet with 57 accredited media companies that were on hand for the event. Endesa's unique celebration served as a unique way to generate buzz around it's title partnership of the Spanish Pro Basketball League, which will be called "Liga Endesa", and demonstrate that it's fully engrained and committed to the sport.

A special thanks to Jean-Paul Forsans for bringing this terrific initiative to my attention. Please take a moment to join his "Brands and Sports" group on LinkedIn, which is dedicated to sharing best practices and innovative ideas in the world of sports!

Check out a video of the action below as well:

Nike, Dick's, and AT&T Showcase Activation at the 2011 Cowboys Classic

Nike, Dick's Sporting Goods, and AT&T kicked off the 2011 college football season with impressive activation displays at the 2011 Cowboys Classic, a game played between LSU and Oregon at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Nike had a prominent on-site presence at the game with several customization stations set up around Cowboys Stadiums. At each of the stations, LSU and Oregon fans could customize their favorite t-shirts and have them produced on-site. Nike's on-site activation resonated very well with fans and further demonstrates how brands can leverage their team marks in an engaging manner on gameday. It's always refreshing to see a brand like Nike who effectively engages with both fan bases on-site at rivalry games.

Dick's Sporting Goods and AT&T also featured elaborate displays on-site that resonated well fans prior to the game. Dick's used a large footprint to showcase its Scorecard Rewards program and featured an inflatable football toss and several other elements to entertain fans. AT&T featured a mobile unit on-site that promoted the brand's sponsorship of the AT&T All-America Team and allowed fans an opportunity to trial AT&T products and meet their favorite school legends.

As kickoff and rivalry games begin to play a larger role in the college sports landscape, look for more brands to capitalize on these events and take their activation to new heights on game day!

Click here to check out photos the three impressive brand displays on-site.

A special thanks to Sean O'Hara for his photos, insights, and contributions to this column!


Marketers Can Re-Create The Baylor Line to Sell New Inventory

College marketers looking to create new, ownable inventory in conjunction with their student fanbase should consider benchmarking one of Baylor University's gameday traditions - The Baylor Line.

Prior to each home football game, a group of Baylor freshmen, referred to as The Baylor Line - wear jerseys with their proposed graduation year and nickname on the back and storm the field through a tunnel at one end of the stadium to the other, where they form a human tunnel for the football team.

This unique moment for freshmen students can be considered as "controlled chaos" as thousands of students run onto the field in uniform fashion. Once the pre-game introductions are finished, the Baylor Line leaves the field and congregates in a designated student section behind the opponent's bench. While the Baylor Line could potentially present some safety concerns (for the students running on the field), there are precautions that can be taken to minimize risk.

While the Baylor Line not only serves as a unique experience for Baylor freshmen to enjoy on gameday, it presents a golden opportunity for college marketers to integrate a corporate partner looking to make an impact on gameday and build an affiliation with students. Sponsors interested in the initiative may represent athletic apparel/footwear (as it ties in with endurance), insurance/auto (two categories commonly targeting students), and cause marketing/philanthropy (driving awareness with themed jerseys) amongst others.

Consider new ways that you can create ownable inventory on gameday that allows corporate marketers a means to directly affiliate their brands with students in a memorable way!

Check out the Baylor Line below:

San Marcos Academy Teams Up with Local Sponsors to Promote Breast Cancer Awareness

It's become relatively common in the sports marketplace for properties to align with corporate partners to promote philanthropic efforts, notably breast cancer awareness. However, it's still a relatively untapped effort in high school athletics... until now.

The San Marcos Academy Bears, a high school football team from San Marcos, Texas recently partnered with Chick-fil-A (at a local level) and A+ Federal Credit Union to promote breast cancer awareness by wearing branded all-pink Wilson jerseys and hosting a "Pink Out" night. As part of the effort, the team specifically endorsed the Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and their efforts to fight breast cancer in the local community.

For the second consecutive year, the Bears wore bright pink jerseys, featuring a printed pattern of the Chick-fil-A and A+ Federal Credit Union logos in return for their support and investment in the team's exclusive night.

Funds raised from sales of the team's pink jerseys supported local breast cancer treatment, screening, and education programs through the Komen Austin Affiliate. Each of the players on the San Marcos Academy football team were given an opportunity to purchase their own jersey, however jerseys that were not purchased were sold for $50 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Check out a photo of the San Marcos Academy Bears' special jerseys below:


For More Information, Click Here.

Standard Chartered Goes the Extra Mile to Introduce Their Jersey Sponsorship to Liverpool Fans

Brands looking for ways to fully capitalize on jersey naming rights agreements should take a close look at how Standard Chartered Bank leveraged their official partnership with Liverpool FC in 2010.

After signing a 4 years, 80 million pounds agreement to become the official jersey sponsor of Liverpool FC, the brand invested in several key initiatives to demonstrate to fans that they were not just looking to align themselves to drive their marketing efforts.

Standard Chartered Bank conveyed their commitment to the Liverpool club and it's fanbase through several impactful tactics, including:

  • Replacing their name on the Liverpool jersey for the first game with the names of Liverpool's longest season ticket holders
  • Standard Chartered Bank then arranged to have each of the players (who wore jerseys with the names of different fans) sign the jerseys they wore and personally deliver it to the fans
  • Standard Chartered Bank then held a ceremony where they interviewed the fan and player participants  
  • Standard Chartered Bank also promoted their partnership affiliation and demonstrated support for Liverpool's loyal fanbase with bus shelter OOH displays, print ads, and more

Guest Editorial: Foosball by Mahou


Mark Gallo is a Field Media Manager for Anheuser-Busch in the Pacific Northwest. He develops, plans, and executes cross functional/platform media plans using designated brand strategies in conjunction with 30 independent AB wholesalers. Mark's expertise resides in media/sponsorship valuations, contract negotiations, and building relevant brand connections.

Follow Mark on Twitter at @guhlo and his official blog


Recently, Budweiser executed a “Poolball” campaign that went viral and was deemed a huge success in Argentina with consumers. Sticking with bar games, Mahou & Madrid Table-Soccer Federation created an entire event revolved around “foosball.”Spain’s legacy with foosball is long and well documented. Mahou  partnered with two of the stars of Spanish football: Iker Casillas (Goalkeeper of Real Madrid) and David Villa (Striker of Barcelona)  to be the face of this campaign.

Mahou erected a large stadium resembling an actual foosball table where 96 teams (Evenly split to support each soccer star) competed to win tickets to an upcoming Real Madrid vs Barcelona, autographed merchandise, a party with the 2 stars  and much more. Mahou found a clever way to promote the intense in-country soccer club rivalry. Generating buzz is one thing that Mahou anticipated. Their ultimate goal is to make relevant connections with consumers who will describe the brand as their “favorite” and act accordingly.

Check out some videos of the Mahou foosball footprint below:


Kraft Gets Creative to Engage Consumers Out-of-Home

Teams looking for new ways to leverage Kraft as a corporate partner should take a close look at two (2) of the company's innovative out-of-home marketing executions in recent years. 

In 2010, Kraft teamed up with Monster Media, MediaVest, and CP+B to create an interactive storefront that allowed consumers to see a virtual Kraft noodle smile whenever they smiled. Kraft installed grin detecting systems in ten (10) storefronts across the country that conveyed happiness in noodle form and allowed consumers an opportunity to dictate the interaction simply by smiling. 

Check out Kraft's interactive outdoor display below and consider ways that you can replicate this offering within your venue to engage fans! Examples can include:

  • Create a Kids display in the concourse where young fans can smile to see their favorite team mascot smile back
  • Create an interactive wall of televisions where fans can smile at virtual headshots of their favorite players and have them smile back at them (or wave, blink, etc.)
  • Create an interactive wall of fan faces that change throughout the game based on how well the team is performing

In 2010, Kraft teamed up with Crispin Porter + Bogusky to transport a giant noodle to large outdoor events to provide warmth to fans in a creative way. Prior to games at Lambeau Field, Wrigley Field, and other iconic venues and events, Kraft featured a giant noodle on-hand that was equipped with a heating system to warm fans up in the tailgate lots. The "You Know You Love It" noodle served as an engaging branding play that definitely resonated with fans in attendance. 

This tactic would also work well for teams looking to promote utility partners, pizza companies, and fast-food chains (promoting new menu offerings) in cold environments. Teams competing in warm environments during the summer months could mirror Kraft's OOH tactic to promote "ice cold" products (e.g. feature a giant Coors Light bottle on-site that always stays super cold). 

Check out Kraft's outdoor execution below:

Lambeau Field

Daytona International Speedway

AT&T Park


Axe Teams Up with Larissa Riquelme to Generate Buzz in Soccer

During the 2010 World Cup, Axe partnered with Larissa Riquelme, an iconic Paraguayan model who is well recognized by soccer fans across the world. Axe and Riquelme teamed up on a simple guerrilla marketing strategy that helped the brand cut through the clutter and generate $2M value of media impressions.

Check out the campaign below and consider ways that your brand can use recognizable fans celebrities associated with sports (outside of players, coaches, and alums) to generate buzz in unconventional ways!

Football Fans Test Their Skills at Bud Light Fan Camp

Anheuser-Busch unveiled its new "Bud Light Fan Camp" display at the 2011 NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Ceremonies this week in Canton, OH. The elaborate Fan Camp footprint features a number of football-related related activities for fans to enjoy with a Bud Light twist, including:

  • An obstacle course that fans race head-to-head through while holding a tray of Bud Light bottles
  • A precision pass display where fans are challenged with throwing footballs at moving Bud Light bottle targets while holding a beer
  • A cannon catch display where fans have to try to catch (8) different passes moving at high rates of speed and in different directions
  • A field goal kick display
  • EA Sports Madden NFL '12 competitions
  • Flag Football ... and more!

The Bud Light Fan Camp serves as an interactive means to allow fans to enjoy the challenges of training camp while engaging with the brand first-hand. The mobile footprint will travel to 60 cities over the course of a 15-week tour during the Fall.

Fans who participate in the Bud Light Fan Camp display can amass points based on their performances, with the team garnering the most total points winning a trip to the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii and a chance to compete in the Bud Light Fan Camp Finals the day after the game.

Check out some of the interactive elements from the Bud Light Fan Camp display below:

Obstacle Course

Precision Pass

Cannon Catch

Enclosed below are some additional photos of the footprint:

July 2011 Partnership Activation Newsletter

Welcome to the July 2011 Partnership Activation Newsletter! I really appreciate your continued interest and support and think that you are going to really enjoy this month's newsletter.

Click here to purchase the July 2011 Partnership Activation Newsletter for $7.99.

The coolest thing in this month's newsletter is the Red Bull Hare Scramble video... I HIGHLY recommend you check it out!

After reviewing the newsletter, please take a moment to share it with friends via email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, personal blogs, and other platforms and modes of communication. Here is a shortened URL that you can use to include in tweets, etc: http://bit.ly/on6seF

 This month's newsletter features a collection of insights, including:

  • Gila River Casino's KaChingKo
  • 10 Building Blocks To Help You Become Everything You Can Be
  • Eyes on the Industry: Australian Football League
  • Navigate Marketing Spotlight: 5 Questions With Mark Friederich
  • Using Augmented Reality to Engage Fans
  • Drive Merchandise with Virtual Stores
  • Leverage Airspace on Gameday to Engage Fans
  • LG Uses a Unique Rugby Branding Play to Wash Away the Competition
  • Continental Tire Displays The Cage
  • IBM Uses Sponsorship Technology to Engage Airport Travelers
  • The Sport Industry Daily
  • Creativity In the Sports Marketplace
  • July 2011 Partnership Activation Rising Stars
  • NACMA Spotlight
  • A Close Look at Creative Marketing in Major League Baseball
  • Creative Tactics From the 2011 College World Series
  • The Cincinnati Reds' Dusty Days
  • Showtime Delivers a Unique Foursquare Vending Experience
  • Idea Box

Click here to purchase the July 2011 Partnership Activation Newsletter, connect with other readers in the official Partnership Activation LinkedIn Group, and follow Brian Gainor on Twitter for additional sponsorship/marketing tactics throughout the month!

If you are interested in signing up for the newsletter, please send an email with "Subscribe" in the subject line to newsletter@partnershipactivation.com. In the body of the email, please include your name, company affiliation, and contact information when subscribing.

Brian Gainor Speaks at NACMA on the State of College Athletics

I wanted to take a quick moment to thank the folks at NACMA (National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators) for allowing me to serve as the Keynote Speaker at the 2011 NACMA Convention in Orlando, FL. It was truly an honor to take the podium and speak with the best and brightest marketers in collegiate athletics.  

The focus of my presentation, "The Current State of Sports Marketing and Forecasting the Future" touched on the current state of collegiate athletics and highlighted ten (10) innovations that college marketers should keep an eye on in the next 2-3 years.  

Check out the entire presentation below:

Brian Gainor Presents on College Athletics at NACMA from Laura Gainor on Vimeo.

Note: I also wanted to send a special thanks to Old Hat Creative for professionally filming the presentation and posting it on the new NACMA Online Library. If you're not familiar with Old Hat Creative, you need to be... they are doing some amazing things in the college space and are a terrific group to work with ... and a special thanks to GMR Marketing as well.

I highly encourage those who work in and around college athletics to make a concerted effort to attend the NACDA Convention on an annual basis, particularly the NACMA discussion panels and breakout sessions. The Convention was truly exceptional, attracting the top college marketers, vendors, and industry minds from across the nation. The event served as a terrific forum to network, share best practices, discuss industry trends, and stimulate out-of-the-box thinking.

Look for more content about the 2011 NACMA Convention in the July 2011 Partnership Activation 2.0 Newsletter and on the site in the months to come!

Johnnie Walker Black Helps F1 Fans Step Inside The Circuit

Johnnie Walker Black Label launched an exceptional series of online vignettes in 2011 in support of its partnership with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team. The brand partnered with Just Marketing International to create a "Step Inside the Circuit" series that provides fans with an intimate perspective of the lives of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, and their respective teams on and off the track.

The video series is very unique in that it was shot in black and white (correspondign with the Johnnie Walker Black Label brand) and it truly portrays the personalities and viewpoints of both Hamilton and Button. The "Step Inside the Circuit" series has been gradually released throughout the 2011 season after filming took place behind-the-sceness during 2010.

The brand is supporting the launch of the "Step Inside the Circuit" series with limited edition product packaging offering fans a chance to win unique motorsports experiences and prizes and are leveraging a tab on the brand's official Facebook page to drive awareness and buzz online.

Check out a few videos from the campaign below:

June 2011 Partnership Activation Newsletter

Thank you for your continued interest in Partnership Activation.

Click here to purchase the June 2011 Partnership Activation Newsletter for $7.99.

After reviewing the newsletter, we would really appreciate it if you would be willing to share it with friends via email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, personal blogs, and other channels of communication. To keep things simple, here is a shortened URL that you can use: http://bit.ly/kEwld3

This month's newsletter features a collection of insights, including:

  • Ford Focus Cam
  • A List of Official Partners and Suppliers of the 2011 French Open
  • Creative Tactics From Across Major League Baseball
  • Manchester City FC's Lift The FA Cup Initiative
  • Trinity Displays
  • Nike's People's Republic of Corinthians
  • The Mercedes-Benz Performance Center
  • The Durex Guerrilla Marketing Soccer Campaign
  • The Vodafone Recharge Truck
  • Enticing Fans with QR Code Prizing
  • The Cynopsis Sports Newsletter
  • June 2011 Partnership Activation Rising Stars
  • Major League Soccer's National Sales Center
  • Mountain Dew's Pinball Machine Skate Park
  • Ole Miss Athletics' "100 Things in 100 Days" Campaign
  • A Close Look at the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals
  • A Look at the 2011 UEFA Champions League Finals
  • Adidas' "Football Paintball" Initiative
  • Red Bull USA's Cubed Pipe
  • Sports Like You've Never Seen It Before
  • Idea Box 

Click here to purchase the June 2011 Partnership Activation Newsletter, connect with other readers in the official Partnership Activation LinkedIn Group, and follow Brian Gainor on Twitter for additional sponsorship/marketing tactics throughout the month!

If you are interested in signing up for the newsletter, please send an email with "Subscribe" in the subject line to newsletter@partnershipactivation.com. In the body of the email, please include your name, company affiliation, and contact information when subscribing.

JD Motorsports Supports The Launch of Cowboys & Aliens With Facebook Promo

JD Motorsports recently unveiled an innovative partnership with the upcoming action-thriller film Cowboys & Aliens that is generating a notable amount of buzz in the NASCAR space. The partnership marks the first time that a film will serve as the primary sponsorship of a car for multiple races during the weeks leading up to July 29th, the date the movie is released in theatres.

JD Motorsports and the producers of Cowboys & Aliens are leveraging their partnership with an innovative social-media driven promotion that will enable 60,000 fans to have their face featured on the mosaic version paint scheme of the car. To participate, fans simply have to log on to the Official Cowboys & Aliens Facebook Page or the film's official microsite, and input their contact information and upload a photo. The "face car" paint scheme will be unveiled at the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 1st. By entering the promotion, fans can also win an exclusive trip to Daytona to see their face embedded on the hood of the JD Motorsports car live.

JD Motorsports teamed up with Jim Varga, the founder of Social Fan Wrap, to create the fan mosaic car concept which will feature approximately 25,000 fan photos on each paint scheme of the No. 01 Cowboys & Aliens car, driven by Mike Wallace. The unique promotional campaign demonstrates how NASCAR teams and associated stakeholders are utilizing technology and social media to take their partnerships to the next level!