Home Runs & Goals With Sports Campaigns

Football, hockey, basketball, baseball. We watch sports like it is the only thing in the world that matters. From die hard fans, to the occasional channel surfers, sports is at the heart of Americans. Game time brings people together. Marketers are fully immersed in this reality and are finding themselves pushed creatively to present sports fans with new and engaging campaigns constantly, especially at the peak of the sports seasons. With the kick off of baseball season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, my 2 favorite times of the year, I thought it’d be a good idea to take a closer look at some of the current and most successful marketing and social media tactics being utilized.

MLB-Always Epic

The MLB, in an effort to lure in young fans, under the creative direction of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos (part of the Interpublic Group) has coined the phrase “Always Epic”, replacing the old theme “Beyond Baseball” for this new round of marketing tactics. The previous campaign was noted for its traditionall use of media and marketing tactics, but this new campaign will tap into social and digital media in the hopes to appeal to the younger crowd.

So why take a sport that prides itself on being an American tradition and change it’s entire image to appeal to younger Americans? Well, this is just my opinion, but when I go to a baseball game (I’m 22 years old) I go with a big group of my friends and we go to kick back a few beers, scarf down some hot dogs, enjoy the sunshine and hang out with our friends. When you look around at a game, a good amount of the fan base is just like me and my friends. Tickets are a decent price for a typical home game and it’s summertime…of course the MLB is going to attract a young crowd looking for something fun to do on a warm summer night. It makes perfect sense for the MLB to change up their target audience for this new campaign.

What does this new campaign have to offer? Well, for starters it is going to take on a whole new look. Where the old spots featured videos of a glimpse into real action games and celebrated the traditions and charm of the long lasting American tradition, the “Always Epic” theme will play off humorous vignettes of today’s most popular players. Fans will also be invited to visit the campaigns microsite ,and tweet your thoughts about the campaign and during the games using with the #MLBAlwaysEpic hashtag.

In an extended attempt to make baseball seem cool and appealing to younger fans, and incorporate social media, the MLB network has created the MLB Fan Cave, which will share the thoughts of fans through twitter @MLBFanCave, an active blog, and through Facebook, video clips, and appearances on the MLB network.

NHL—It’s Stanley Time!

It’s that time of year again where hockey fans alike put on their most intense game face and fully commit to every second of every game. Yes, that’s right. It’s the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The “History Will Be Made” campaign, in collaboration with Young & Rubicam, proved to be highly successful last year, drawing in more than 302 million viewers for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, is back!

The campaign has kicked it up a knotch, as the NHL and NBC Sports Group have joined forces to extend the campaign across tv, print, radio, digital/social media for NBC, NHL and Versus, online, in arena, in store, and mobile platforms. The campaign, back and even better then last year, hopes to drive audience viewership and connect fans with the players on an emotional level. The hope is that this will inspire fans of all ages to post their own versions of the TV generated spots on YouTube and initiate social media conversation.  As an avid hockey fan (GO RED WINGS) I can relate to intense and emotion filled reality of the playoffs.  Like last year, fans will be urged to download the original music composed for the campaign from the NHLs Facebook fan page. Fans can also chose from 63 of the greatest moments in NFL playoff history, matched up head to head in an interactive bracket, and vote for their favorite on the NHLs microsite, History vs. History. ..perhaps first playoff hat trick of Wayne Gretzky’s career?

The first 2 spots, “Mess” and “Wish” already debuted in March and an additional 20 spots launches yesterday with the start of the playoffs.


Sports sure know how to create some great ads.


Tigers LogoWings Logo


Building a Home for Hip Hop

So I’m not a huge hip hop fan, but I came across this online video ad. Thanks to the creative efforts of Global Hue, this short video features a classical music conductor, lost in the urban streets of the Big Apple, only to find his way and break out into a crazy hip hop musical masterpiece. Made in honor of of the talented world of hip hop, this ad for the National Museum of Hip Hop definitely does a great job at impacting the viewer with it’s straight forward tag line “Help build a home for the classics of hip hop.” I thought it was a creative approach to online video advertising. What do you think?

The Future of Advertising: Online Video

The other day I was asked what I thought the most influential emerging technology was for advertisers and marketers.

That was a week ago…I think I finally have an answer

Even though online video isn’t a new technology I think it’s one that has advertisers have just recently begun to tap into more. Video advertising will be at the forefront of the online sector this year. This advertising opportunity will prove to be beneficial to media buyers because it contains less clutter, there’s better consumer targeting technology, and a lower cost of production when compared to television.  Online video advertising will also experience massive growth opportunities this year as the shift from offline to online activities continues as well as the explosive growth in mobile and social platforms and formats.

I can see more advertisers utilizing online video for the following reasons (in a nut shell)

  • mobile video will take off
  • branded entertainment and interactive advertising will continue to expand
  • online video can be shared across social media platforms creating even more buzz and video sharing, there’s the potential to target maximum reach on an enormous scale online
  • video search will improve, new online video destinations (other than YouTube) will become accessible to advertisers
  • media buyers may consider moving big budgets online if the consumer potential is greater (ex: to reach young consumers)
  • YouTube will continue to seek out premium brands and advertisers
  • the web will begin to challenge traditional TV and I can say that because I basically watch all my shows online now for lack of time to watch TV
  • real time biding

I’d like to elaborate a bit on what real time bidding is real quick, because I recently just found out myself…

With the recent advancements in broadband and Flash video capabilities, bringing real time video advertising to consumers is more important now then it’s ever been. It’s all about one simple concept…getting the right ad, in front of the right person, at the right time. This is no longer a game of luck: Will that shoe fanatic be on the web when my shoe store banner ad is running along top of yahoo shopper’s homepage. But rather, it’s a game of strategy and defining a target (regional or internet based), then finding that target (IP data parameters), and placing the ad in front of them.  The targeting parameters create impressions and each ad impression is sold to the highest bidder based on who the individual ad is being served to.  An ad buyer, creates a platform or an ad audience (travel, fashion etc), then they can value each opportunity in that audience to buy an impression, in real time. And there you go ladies and gentleman…Local Advertising.

By defining a targeted audience you get the results you want by bidding your ad in real time. Having that targeted audience allows online video advertisers to get better results by bidding their ad, a better ROI, and overall boots success of the ad.

And there we have it. Online Video Advertising…the online advertising of 2011

Tis the Season

With the Holiday’s right around the corner, advertisers have once again outdone themselves with quirky, comical, and even some down right ridiculous ads, but they all have one thing in common…that “WOW” “What the heck?” and “Where’s my purse I need to go buy that NOW!” factor. The point of advertising, especially during the holiday season, is to spark an interest in your product, get people to remember your brand through creative adverting and most importantly get people off their couches and into the stores purchasing your product RIGHT? Well these ad’s don’t fall short in sparking an interest and definitely aren’t easily forgettable. Here’s just a few of my favorites

HBO TRUE BLOOD-Comical and memorable…a classy spoof on one of today’s most popular TV series

Brand: HBO Videos
Agency: BBDO Worldwide

LG “SOMETHING’S LURCKING”–I think you’ll agree with me that LG just took vacuum commercials to a whole new level…in a good way. This commercial is an amazing combination of animation and suspense, right down to the music. The constant movement of the animation through the danger zone (portrayed as a family room) keeps viewers drawn in for the full :60 seconds. The spot is visually compelling even down to the treatment of what little text the commercial has, warning viewers to “Protect your family, from things that are lurking.”

Brand: LG Home Appliances
Agency: Young & Rubicam New York

TARGET HOLIDAY SERIES–Yes the portrayal  of the nut-job of a holiday housewife, Maria Bamford, may be perceived as a bit “out there” but it’s still grabbing your attention and more importantly keeping it.  I must admit she slightly frightens me, but that’s what’s so great about this campaign. We all have that Maria Bamford in our lives who’s absolutely obsessed with the holiday’s and tends to get even a bit looney during the season. People either really love or really hate the new Target commercials, but either way People are talking about them…great PR for Target



Hit a Homerun with Online Video Marketing

It is no secret that viewing online videos has been a constant trend espeically with the creation of today’s most dominant online video host YouTube. Whether its watching silly videos of that turkey on a snowboard, or re-watching clips from last night’s MSU basketball win, people are watching online video daily, in fact for some it has even become an obsession (I’m one of the obesessed ones). With the ongoing popularity on online videos it is no surprise that social media and marketing efforts have snuck into the online video world. I mean why not? Millions of people are on YouTube, Vimeo, and UStream as I am writing this, so if a brand wanted to turn to online video to market themselves they have just as much potential to reach thousands of users just like that video of the turkey on a snowboard.

Valentina Trevino, a young artist from Chicago, is largely responsible for and at the forefront of online video marketing. With almost 50,000 subscribers to date, Val has created her very onw YouTube channel, Val’s Art Diary, to market her artwork which she sells on ebay and on her very own website. Her innovative approach to marketing herself and utilizing social media gained her recognition on The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Val creates weekly videos where she tells stories or discusses a topic, about her love for art or the secret ingredient in her tea, and ends the video with a brief summary about her latest piece of artwork. She lets her personality show through a balanced mix of colorful banter and comedy. Her videos average about 30,000 views each and have attributed to the ongoing success of sales of her artwork. Another success factor that I think is important to point out, as I found watching her videos, is that she does a really good job of involving her viewers. For example, in one video she mentioned a facebook contest that was coming on via her facebook page and offered a brand new Ipod Touch to the winner. What a great way to draw people in.

With the enormous online presence that most companies have today, it is important to set yourself apart from others; make yourself unique and interesting in some way. I think with the dominance that online video has in the social media realm, utilizing online video to market yourself or your brand is a creative approach to standing out. Video Marketing is a booming method for attracting customers, relaying information, creating a buzz about your brand and ensuring a high pass along rate. Video has the ability to catch the consumers eye, draw them into viewing, hold their attention and create the curiousity. When I was viewing Val’s videos, at the same time I was on her website checking out her work because I was curious to learn more. Video marketing has the power to increase brand awareness due to the ability to view over and over, as well as increase favorability, message association, and intent to purchase. I think video marketing creates emotion in the viewer, emotional or motivational, and calling them to take further action. Overall, I think video marketing could someday be more successful then print ads because it’s always more effective to see the human interaction then a bunch or words on paper. I think alot of brands could benefit from online videos and one way could be through consumer testimonials of a product or service. Seeing a positive interaction with a brand from someone like yourself is more effective then telling. The testimonals could take on a funny or serious manner and have the potential to be highly creative.

Finally, I think UStream is a really cool concept that individuals or brands should consider tapping into. UStream is a live streaming video host. Personally, I think it is more entertaining and personable to see a video in its raw form…it makes everything seem a little more human and relatable.

Do I think online video is a good idea? YES, and I think it has great potential to becoming the new trend in online marketing.

Here’s a video I found that helped explain the benefits of online video and how to get started.

Spartans Will…Sharing the Stories of True Spartans

MSU Spartans…who are we? We are a Final Four basketball team,  a world renound study abroad progam, we are East Lansing, we are the block S, the GO GREEN, GO WHITE, an original Agricultural College, a party school, a place of higher education and success. There is not just one answer to who we, MSU Spartans, are and this presented a problem for MSU’s branding.  University officials, upon realizing that MSU didn’t have a consistant image saw this lack of a unifying identity as a threat to students. This has led to a year long in planning campaign, with a budget of $478,000 to create a national campaign to create a positive image for MSU with a consistant branding approach focusing on the stories of the 500,000 strong Spartans around the world and their contributions to society. The Spartans Will campaign will bring together all students, alumni, and faculty to portray the Spartan community as a collection of people who go above and beyond to benefit the community and share their successes with the world each and every day.  The goal of the New York Times worthy campaign, under the direction of 160 Over 90, will take the University’s Spartan pride and use it as an entry point to what the school is accomplishing  on and off campus. It shows the Spartans as a brand that creates solutions to the world’s problems through utilizing the vast capabilities, knowledge, and opportunities one can benefit from by being a Spartan.

The campaign incorporates print, which is currently seen in Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Time Magazine, and Newsweek, TV spots featuring famous Spartans such as James Cameron, online banner and video ads, and a microsite called the Spartan Sagas (see 160 Over 90 Ads Here).  Spartan Sagas encourages MSU alumni to nominate themselves or others to share their stories of success that is rooted in their MSU education.  The videos, some of which are even produced by Michigan State, will launch this month.

As the 8th largest higher education campus in the US, it is important for the public to see how MSU isn’t just about the outstanding athletics or partying which are mainly the only aspects that make the news. This campaign is a great way to create a MSU brand showing that Spartans make significant contributions to society and have a remarkable impact on problems all around the world.

I think this campaign is indeed a great way to unify the Spartan community. From experience, when I tell people I graduated from MSU the first thing they associate the university with is the basketball or football teams, or the cedar fest incident a few years ago. I think it is important for the public to look beyond the surface and see deeper into what MSU is all about, which is rooted in the education we receive from this outstanding university and how we use our MSU education beyond our 4 years in East Lansing and use that to benefit the world around us. This campaign does just that.

We are Spartans and Spartans Will.

I tweeted the Spartans Will Campaign site to MSU’s Twitter page and they RT-ed my tweet for everyone to see so I thought that was pretty cool!!! The power of Twitter!

Spartans Wil Poster Image by NY Times