Sponsors: Take care of your current customers

September 22, 2011

Sponsors are constantly looking for ways to better improve their activation at sporting events and every decision seems to revolve around acquiring new customers and seeing an ROI. One of the best tactics is to use the event to take care of your current customers, and increase the prestige of being part of the brand. BMW is one the brands that is taking full advantage of this tactic.

BMW has partnered with Big Ten Sports Properties  to become the conference’s official luxury automobile. As a reward to their customers, fans arriving to the season’s inaugural Big Ten football championship game in a BMW will be given their own reserved parking spots close to Lucas Oil Stadium.  BMW will also establish a similar preferred parking program at many of the conference’s championship events including Men and Women’s Basketball, Baseball, and Olympic Sports. BMW has also wisely created a similar system at golf tournaments on the PGA and European tours.

Speaking of the PGA, another brand that employs this method well is American Express. AmEx’s activation centers around taking care of the card members and allows them access to PGA professional that non card members could only dream of. At the U.S. Open Championship, American Express offered card members free headphones and radios to listen to all the day’s action, just for showing their card.

American Express has also enabled the PGA to start a “Friend of a Card Member” that allows anyone paying for a golf lesson with an AmEx card to bring a friend and get a lesson for free.  Another program called “Championship Tees” enables card members to have access to courses that have previously hosted PGA or USGA championships. It’s clear that American Express knows how to take advantage of sporting events.

Sometimes, it pays for a sponsor to take care of their own rather than spend wildly to attract attention. Not only can the company save money, but with a carefully crafted activation, they can create a buzz and turn their own customers into their best marketers.


Better Sponsorship. Better Activation. Papa John’s.

September 7, 2011

Many sponsors have scrambled to put together a successful campaign as soon as the NFL resumed business, and you would be hard pressed to do a better job than Papa John’s has. With a large influx of eyeballs in such a short amount of time, the official pizza sponsor of the NFL took full advantage.

To build the brand’s loyalty program, Papa Reward members (already 1,000,000 strong), and new fans who sign up at PapaJohns.com will be put in a drawing to receive one of 60,000 free pizzas each week during the regular season. Marketing for the promotion includes digital advertising on NFL.com, both home page and banners, social media, e-mail, and in-store marketing. However, the most noteworthy banner placement is in NFL.com’s Fantasy Football Draft rooms. With at least two drafts per minute, ten to twelve users per draft, and drafts lasting for at least an hour, Papa John’s was able to gain countless impressions that has given them and edge among brands before the NFL season has even started.

Well played Papa John’s, Marketers will be sure to keep an eye on your campaign among the many in-season promotions.


NBA Players to Europe

July 7, 2011

Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets is reportedly planning to play in Turkey if the NBA lockout is not settled by the Fall. Other notable players entertaining the idea of playing in Europe include the Atlanta Hawks’ Zaza Pachulia, Kobe Bryant, and the Knicks duo of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. The idea of NBA players playing in Europe has been debated and dissected by numerous TV shows, radio shows, and analysts across the industry with every concern cited from safety to ability to adapt.

Thinking with the sponsorship hat on, I believe it would be advantageous for stars of the NBA to compete in Europe from a business standpoint. Players would be able to showcase their personal brand, and the Nike’s and Reebok’s of the world would be able to leverage their high-profile athletes in a brand new global setting.

[As an aside, consider this a tip of the cap to WNBA. While most are compelled to compete abroad for financial reasons, one has to admire their willingness to put it all on the line. As of March 2011, 92 players from all 12 teams are competing in a dozen countries all over the world. See the full map where all WNBA players are competing here.]


Interactive McMarketing

June 23, 2011

 

McDonald’s created a brilliant billboard in the city of Stockholm, Sweden. This “Pick ‘n’ Play” campaign was experimental but returned huge results for the company.

As you see in the video, users connect with the billboard using their smartphone, without having to download additional software (big perk!) The user is prompted to pick their favorite McDonald’s snack to begin, and then play a game of pong on the billboard using their smartphone to control their paddle. If the user wins the game, a coupon for a free snack that they chose is sent straight to their phone.

Team executives would be wise to follow this excellent interactive marketing strategy and apply the concept to their home stadiums. Those tailgating or entering the stadium would gladly participate and play the game on the billboard, especially if they could get something for free out of it. Team sponsors can creatively integrate their product or service into the game, and teams would have the option to rotate every game or series to maximize their partnerships and revenue opportunities.