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    The Twins Move In... With Some Humor

    Are you looking to create a humorous campaign around moving into a new facility? Are you looking for new ways to showcase your organization's finest athletes and accomplishments?

    As the Minnesota Twins get ready to move into Target Field, their new downtown ballpark, the organization's fanbase has a lot to look forward to. The team is coming off a tremendous 2009 season and has many of its star players returning for another season.

    To spark excitement for the upcoming 2010 season, the Twins organization recently released a humorous campaign entitled Twins-portation that features the team moving into their new stadium facility. The spot serves as a great benchmark for teams looking to leverage their past successes, current stars, and future in a single messaging campaign... it's very unique - check it out below: 


    Auburn Uses Celebrity Home Run Derby to Drive Donations

    Are you looking to raise donations for a good cause? Are you a collegiate athletic department looking for new ways to fundraise?

    Last month, Auburn University held its annual Auburn Baseball Celebrity Home Run Derby, an initiative designed to drive donations for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County. The event attracted the likes of a number of notable alums, including Bo Jackson, Tim Hudson, Todd Jones, and Gabe Gross and raised over $5,000 from 1,715 fans in attendance.

    To gain admission, fans were asked to donate a minimum of $1 to the Boys and Girls Club. Those willing to donate money were treated to a classic home run derby competition, a nine (9) inning scrimmage, and raffle prize drawings for autographed balls and Under Armour gear.

    Look for more Universities to use HR Derby competitions as an annual fundraiser! Check out Auburn Baseball's 2009 Celebrity Home Run Derby below:



    Volkswagen Pushes Fuel Efficiency at the Chicago Marathon

    Are you looking for new ways to make an impact on race day? Are you looking for ways to use sports to drive home fuel efficiency messaging?

    As brands look for creative ways to leverage endurance events, many should take a page out of Volkswagen's playbook for the 2009 Chicago Marathon. Volkswagen was looking to promote the 42mpg fuel efficiency of the Jetta TDI Clean Diesel vehicle and decided to partner with super-athlete Dean Karnazes to send home a powerful message to viewers, onlookers, and brand enthusiasts.

    To sell home the fact that the TDI Clean Diesel vehicle doesn't stop at 26.2 miles per gallon, Volkswagen asked Karnazes to not stop at 26.2 miles (1 marathon) either. In fact, they tasked him with running a distance equal to 2 straight marathons (52.4 miles). Along the way, Volkswagen generated interest by letting fans send tweets with questions and support and videotaped the entire feat. The company is also supporting the initiative with a custom microsite

    Check out a video of Dean Karnazes journey below and look for more creative fuel efficiency acts from Volkswagen in the near future!


    Turn Your Team Shop Into An Experience...

    Are you looking for new ways to drive team store sales on gameday? Are you looking for new ways to engage fans at your venue?

    As sports organizations look for new ways to spur team store sales, they should consider benchmarking some radical advancements that Disney is planning to make in its 300+ stores worldwide, thanks to the help of Steve Jobs. Jobs is leading a crusade to help Disney turn its retail outlets into experiences. Disney's new retailtainment philosophy is becoming readily adopted by many major retailers across the globe in different fashions.

    Sports organizations looking to spur team store sales (not only on gameday but throughout the season) should consider new ways to make consumers feel that their experience is more interactive and engaging and less as a direct point of purchase channel.

    Here are some ways that Disney will be transforming the retail experience (and how they can be applied in the sports space):

    I. Theatres in-store will allow children to watch film clips of their own selection

    Teams can feature private television touchscreens (with headphones) that fans can choose from a variety of past team highlights and celebrations (the on-screen viewing experience could present opportunities to integrate corporate partner messaging/use of personalities). Teams could also offer PC's where fans can remix their favorite team highlights/music and have it emailed/shared through social media channels.

    II. Consumers will be able to participate in karaoke contests

    Teams can feature a sound-proof booth (or keep it open like Old Spice's previous NASCAR activation) where fans can put on a karaoke performance of the team's theme song (and have this recorded via audio/video and distributed via social media/team page)

    III. Consumers will be able to chat live with Disney stars via satellite

    During the two (2) hours prior to a home game, teams can offer fans the chance to videoconference a famous alum (former player, coach, etc.) or fellow fan across the world and ask them specific questions about their thoughts on the game plan, etc.

    IV. Computer chips embedded in packaging will activate hidden features (e.g. consumers who walk by a magic mirror while holding a tiara will find Cinderella appear and say something)

    With technological advancements, teams will soon be able to recreate these special mirrors in team stores where a fan walking by a mirror holding a Peyton Manning jersey will be able to see a 3D Manning appear in the mirror and thank him for choosing his jersey (or supporting the Colts). RFID technology will continue to impact the sports space in many ways in the near future...

    V. Employees reward consumers shopping on their birthday with tree lighting, fireworks, and sound animation

    Birthdays are a HUGE MISS in sports these days. Teams should follow Disney's model (rewarding consumers with a free park admission pass on their birthday in '08) and look for ways to provide unique offers/experiences for fans on their birthday. Sports organizations should give any person shopping in the team shop on their birthday a free printout of the scoreboard (with a messaging congratulating them) with purchase... there are so many opportunities here!

    VI. Stores will utilize scents to enhance the consumer experience 

    The opportunities are endless here... incorporate the scents and smells of gameday (fresh grass, grills, new equipment, etc. 

    Source: The New York Times - Disney's Retail Plan Is a Theme Park in Its Stores


    The Raptors Get Creative With Their OOH Marketing

    Are you looking for creative out-of-home marketing ideas? Are you looking for ways to differentiate yourself in the marketplace?

    In 2009, the Toronto Raptors created a tremendous out-of-home marketing campaign that drew the attention of many representatives in the industry. The campaign was so well executed by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, it was honored by the National Sports Forum (NSF) as the Best Out-of-Home campaign in sports in 2009.

    Check out some of the organization's creative OOH marketing tactics below:

    Click HERE for a list of some other NSF Adchievement Award Winners.


    The Jays Care Foundation Creates Mobile Giving Initiative

    Are you looking for new ways to support your organization's charitable initiatives? Are you looking for ways to drive philanthropic giving on gameday?

    The Jays Care Foundation recently unveiled a new initiative that provides Blue Jays fans with an easy way to contribute to the lives of children and youth in need in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. The Jays Care Foundation teamed up with Rogers Wireless and the Mobile Giving Foundation to create a mobile giving campaign that enables fans to make a donation right in their seats at the game.

    The innovative campaign offers Blue Jays fans the chance to make a $5.00 donation to the Jays Care Foundation by texting "CARE" to the short code 20222. The team will use a videoboard vignette starring the team's All-Star 2nd baseman Aaron Hill to explain the program and ask fans for their contributions. The Blue Jays teamed up with Rogers to drive further awareness for the program by announcing that they would match every $5.00 donation made by a Rogers Wireless or Fido customer during the team's game on September 25th.

    Mobile giving is definitely a growing trend to watch in the sports marketplace. With donations appearing as a line item on a customer's wireless bill, teams are providing fans with an extremely easy outlet to make a big difference in the lives of many. By creating this mobility and having the assets available to create a compelling call-to-action for fans, look for more teams, charitable organizations, and corporate partners to jump on board with similar initiatives.

    Check out the Jays Care Foundation campaign HERE (a wmv file - it may take a few moments to load).

    What other organizations are offering similar mobile initiatives?


    Hebrew National Offers Free Hot Dogs to Fans...

    Is your brand looking for new ways to gain media exposure? Are you looking for ways to promote food/concessions items through sporting events?

    During a recent game against the Oakland Raiders, Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez was caught scarfing down a hot dog on the sideline between possessions. Sanchez attempted to apologize and explain the situation, but the damage was already done (garnering some well deserved publicity).

    Hebrew National, a ConAgra brand, capitalized on the hot dog frenzy by devising a creative PR ploy that grabbed the attention of the media across the country. The company announced that it would offer free hot dogs to any fans attending an NFL game (with proof of a ticket stub) for the remainder of the season where a quarterback is caught on camera eating a hot dog.

    Is the chance of a reocurrence likely? No.

    But does it serve as a tremendous PR story for Hebrew National? Definitely.

    By responding quickly as an organization, Hebrew National was able to gain thousands of dollars of media exposure and become relevant to sports fans without having to invest large sums of dollars in sponsorship rights, etc. Will the company's PR stunt have an effect on future retail sales? Definitely a possibility (at the very least, Jets fans might always think of Mark Sanchez when they see the Hebrew National brand which isn't a bad thing if Sanchez becomes a premier quarterback in the league).

    It would be very interesting to see if an NFL player responded to Hebrew National's call-to-action and attempted the feat (although the NFL would most likely strongly oppose any efforts by Hebrew National as it did with KFC's Super Bowl touchdown ideas).

    In the meantime, Hebrew National is offering all fans in attendance at the Jets-Raiders game a chance to redeem their ticket stubs to the game for a free pack of Hebrew National Beef Franks. Fans are being asked to submit their official ticket stub (including valid seat number and game date) and a 3x5 card complete with their name and address to: Sideline Hot Dog Offer PO Box 1026 Grand Rapids, MN 55745-1026. 

    Check out a video of Mark Sanchez eating a hot dog on the sidelines below:


    The Redskins Push Lottery Tickets at the Pump...

    Are you looking for new ways to drive awareness for c-store promotions? Are you looking for new ways to leverage lottery partners?

    The Washington Redskins and the Virginia Lottery announced a partnership in June 2009 to create a new $50MM scratch-off ticket that would go on sale just prior to the team's '09 season opener. Fans can purchase the team-branded scratch-off tickets for $20 and have the chance to instantly win prizes between $20 and $1MM.

    What's unique about the scratch-off promotion is that the Virginia Lottery has teamed up with c-store locations to market the offer on gas pumps (as shown below). The attractive offer catches the eye of consumers for a solid 3-5 minutes while they pump gas. More organizations should consider using non-traditional OOH mediums like gas pumps to drive home their promotional messaging (especially at c-store locations near their venues).


    Florida Gator Student-Athletes Create a Thriller

    Are you looking for new, unique ways to showcase student-athletes? Are you looking to create a promotional video that features your team's athletes in a new light?

    Kristin Giannas, a telecommunications and news broadcasting major at the University of Florida, recently produced a tremendous Florida Gators remake of Michael Jackson's hit song/video "Thriller". Giannas worked closely with members of several University of Florida athletics teams (gymnasts, softball, baseball, cheerleaders, Dazzlers) to create a 5:50 video that is destined to become an online hit.

    The video serves as a great example of a unique way that collegiate athletic departments can drive buzz and position their student-athletes (especially those competing in non-traditional sports) in a new light.

    Check out the video below as well as Kristin Giannas' website here.


    Shapeshifter Offers New, Innovative Signage for Teams

    Are you looking for new advancements in signage technology? Are you looking to feature signage at your venue that will pop?

    Sports organizations looking for new signage technology to promote corporate partners need to check out the amazing work being done by Shapeshifter Media. Shapeshifter Media is the exclusive licensee of the international patents for the manufacture of Stairgraphics, a new piece of signage technology that could soon become a growing trend in the United States.

    As more teams consider stadium stair signage (both in-venue and out-of-venue) and floor signage in stadium concourse levels, Shapeshifter Media could soon become a key player in the North American marketplace. The key trick will be to see which U.S. properties are able to effectively work with the German-based Shapeshifter Media to bring the 3D stairgraphics to the United States (properties interested in the technology can connect with Shapeshifter Media by clicking here).

    Check out some of Shapeshifter Media's work in the sports space below:

    Danone Waters/Evian - Bayarena Leverkusen

    Nike USA - Javits Convention Center (New York)

    Ford - Floor Poster

    2D and 3D Floor Posters


    The West Coast Conference Goes Viral with Fan Draft...

    Is your conference or organization looking to drive buzz with a captivating viral campaign? Are you looking for new ways to stimulate online fan interest?
    The West Coast Conference recently unveiled a humorous "WCC Fan Draft" social media campaign that will serve as the primary marketing campaign for each of the conference's eight (8) member institutions in 2009.
    Fans can view the campaign by visiting one of the eight (8) customized University viral sites: 

    It is exciting to see a conference using social media to better its institutions. Organizations that can find a way to scale these type of social media projects across a number of beneficiaries will find that they will deliver better results. The West Coast Conference has been able to successfully drive a significant amount of buzz online already with the campaign. Fans that take part in the viral initiative even have the chance to win tickets to the 2010 WCC Basketball Championships (March 5-8).

    The West Coast Conference used funds received through a 2009-10 NCAA Women's Basketball Marketing grant designed to increase awareness, exposure, and attendance of women's basketball. The West Coast Conference is hoping that the targeted viral initiative will result in a 15% increase across the board (awareness, exposure, attendance).  

    The humorous campaign is very entertaining but will it drive fans to take action? It will be interesting to see. Check it out below:



    The Packers Celebrate Fans with HOF...

    Is your sports organization looking for new ways to recognize its fan base? Are you looking for ways to honor your team's tradition off the field?

    Sports organizations looking for new ways to honor and reward their fan base should consider modeling the Green Bay Packers' FAN Hall of Fame initiative. In 1998, the Packers became the first professional football team to establish its own FAN Hall of Fame. Since then, the team has honored eleven (11) avid fans with the honorable distinction and has brought five (5) corporate partners on board.

    How does the FAN HOF selection process work? 

    • Fans are invited to nominate themselves (or other fans) by submitting a 500-word essay and either a two (2) minute video or picture explaining why they or another person are the ultimate fan and should be recognized
    • The Fan Hall of Fame selection comittee, comprised of Green Bay Packers front office staff, trim the list of candidates down to ten (10) finalists
    • The ten (10) finalists are profiled in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as well as Voting ballots are made available within the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , on, and at the corporate locations of the program's sponsors
    • The finalist who garners the most votes is inducted into the Packers Fan Hall of Fame

    What do the Packers FAN Hall of Fame inductees receive?

    • Four (4) club seats to a Packers home game
    • Acknowledgement on the Lambeau Field jumbotron
    • $500 Pro Shop gift certificate
    • A road trip for two (2) to a Green Bay Packers away game (including tickets/accomodations)
    • Recognition on (profile)

    The initiative serves as a great way for the Packers organization to give back to a dedicated fan base that has supported them for so many years. Look for more established sports organizations to implement similar FAN Hall of Fame initiatives in the years to come!


    Does Your Team Shop Have a Top 10?

    Are you looking for new ways to sell more merchandise online? Are you looking for ways to promote new merchandise and concessions items?

    Liverpool FC currently offers an Online Store Top 10 page on its official team website. The Top 10 page is extremely simplistic - listing out a picture and description of each of the top 10 items - yet it is an effective way to help consumers simplify their online shopping experience.

    Top 10 pages can serve as a very simple go-to solution for fans looking to purchase a popular gift for a friend or loved one. Believe it or not, consumers gravitate to these types of lists. Featuring a Top 10 page can also serve as a great way to help teams introduce their newest merchandise to fans (and hopefully in turn, boost sales).

    Check out Liverpool FC's Top 10 page here.


    The Big Ten Leads the Way with Fan Camp...

    Are you looking for new ways to generate league/team awareness? Are you looking to create an intriguing campaign that utilizes a collection of team marks?

    The Big Ten recently released a tremendous messaging campaign designed to drive awareness and affinity for the member Universities of the Big Ten Conference. The campaign is centered around a group of kids who attend Big Ten Fan Camp to learn more about their favorite teams.

    The campaign serves as an excellent example for leagues looking to create a humorous, appealing message to promote their member organizations. After viewing so many stiff commercial adverts produced by Universities (that are shown during games), the Big Ten Fan Camp serves as a nice refresher. Look for more humorous campaigns from the Big Ten in the near future!

    On a side note, the thought of University Athletic Departments holding fan camps (especially for young fans if done the right way like Football 101 sessions) could serve as a channel to generate a significant amount of revenue!


    The Seahawks Mascot Goes Skydiving to Promote Halftime...

    Are you looking for new ways to drive buzz and awareness for an upcoming halftime performance? Are you looking for new ways to integrate corporate partners in halftime festivities?

    During their upcoming game against the Oakland Raiders, the Seattle Seahawks are set to feature the Red Bull Air Force skydive team landing on the field during halftime. The 12-man skydiving team, who have performed 13K jumps together, will be making a stadium appearance to the tune of a live concert by the band The Presidents of the United States.

    In an effort to promote the upcoming halftime festivities, the Seahawks sent their mascot, Blitz, last week to Pugent Sound to jump with the Red Bull Skydive team as a promotional stunt. The video, shown below, will be featured on the video board in the stadium for all fans in attendance to see while The Presidents of the United States perform a song about the mascot called "This is a Blitz". 

    Hats off to the Seahawks organization for working with the Red Bull Air Force to create a captivating piece that truly shows the team's Seahawks mascot in flight. Check it out below:

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