Tag Archive | sports

Saucony Launches New “Find Your Strong Project”

Wow. I am absolutely blown away by the new intro video Saucony released to launch its new campaign: The Find Your Strong Project.

 

Everything about this video is well-done: the script, the voiceover, the production value, the editing (plus, how beautiful and amazing does Dorothy look in her signature hot pink arm warmers??).

All of the video’s components strongly resonate with me as a runner. As a marketer, I’m equally impressed. The script is poignant and memorable without being over-the-top or too cheesy, which makes me want to share it with all my running friends and all the friends I want to become runners. It makes me want to share how I find strength, how I “find my strong.” This video does exactly what Saucony wants: it makes me want to get involved in the campaign.

From the description of the video, Saucony provides this information about the Project:

Saucony Presents The Find Your Strong Project – giving runners the chance to share their strong. To find inspiration, find a challenge, or (even) a kick in the butt. Because the more we all run, the stronger we all get. Strong is out there … what’s yours?

There is an accompanying microsite that houses user-generated content where runners can share quotes, photos, and videos detailing how and where they find strength for the chance to win one of 10 pairs of Saucony shoes. It looks like the prompts on the site might change weekly, which will help keep the campaign fresh and exciting.

This is a campaign I’ll be sure to follow closely, especially to see how Saucony leverages social media tactics to capitalize on the strong sharing elements of the project.

—-

What are your first impressions of the Find Your Strong Project? If you were Saucony, what social media channel(s) would you use to increase awareness and drive participation?

A Case Study on Blogger Engagement: Nuun’s Hood to Coast Team

When done well, a promotional partnership between a brand and an online influencer is mutually beneficial. Though it sounds simple, it is often difficult for companies to develop strategies on how to best engage bloggers in a meaningful and effective way. Over the last three months, I’ve watched closely as one company – nuun  – has, in my opinion, brilliantly executed a blogger engagement campaign in conjunction with the popular Hood to Coast relay race taking place this weekend in the pacific northwest.

Unless you are an athlete, you probably haven’t heard of nuun. As an avid runner, even I hadn’t heard of nuun until late May of this year. That’s when all my favorite running bloggers starting posting about this seemingly obscure product. My interest piqued, I did a bit of digging and discovered that nuun is an electrolyte-enhanced hydration product.

“Okay… I don’t get it,” I thought. Yes, the product is certainly relevant to runners. But it didn’t look big enough for all these major blogs to start posting about it almost simultaneously.

Through some additional research, I learned the reason so many blogs had mentioned nuun was a contest of sorts had been announced:

Nuun is putting together an ALL FEMALE, ALL BLOGGER team for the 30th anniversary running of the Hood to Coast epic relay event

A blog post on the company website provided more information about the contest, which asked bloggers to submit creative applications on why they should be chosen for the Nuun Hood-to-Coast team. Those selected for the team would have everything taken care of during race weekend, except for travel costs to and from Seattle.

Image from the 2010 documentary "Hood to Coast"

As the bloggers began submitting applications, they began promoting their entries through their own, very established social channels. I was hard-pressed to browse my Google reader that week without seeing mentions of the Nuun Hood to Coast team.

In late June, Nuun announced the bloggers who had made the team – and to everyone’s surprise, the company ended up selecting two teams comprised of 20 bloggers (and four nuun employees).

As a runner who one day hopes to compete in a relay as exciting as Hood to Coast, I was excited for all those selected, eager to read their posts as they trained and planned for the event.  As a communications professional, I couldn’t help but admire nuun’s genius campaign. Through the initiative, the company handpicked 22 influential fitness bloggers with large communities to be ambassadors for nuun in the months leading up to Hood to Coast.

When nuun announced its teams of bloggers, I added all the blogs I wasn’t already reading to my RSS feed.  Since then, I’ve noticed weekly posts from each of them covering their training, packing plans, team bios, information about their specific relay legs and, of course, the nuun product. A couple of weeks ago, nuun sent the bloggers a care package filled with products. Around the same time, the company provided a 25% off promotional code the women could share with their readers.

The best part? The bloggers’ posts never seemed overly promotional. From what I read, they did not feel taken advantage of or under-compensated. Instead, they were all genuinely excited to be a part of nuun’s team, which made me – as a reader – excited about Hood to Coast and even got me to check out the nuun product website several times. In fact, I’m planning to make a trip to Washington CitySports soon to pick up my own tube of nuun as I hit the homestretch of my Army 10 Miler training plan so I know the program gained nuun at least one new customer…

Kudos to the nuun team – this certainly made for a great blogger engagement program. To all the runners, good luck this weekend!

Technology Will Change Sports Marketing

When people ask me to describe myself, I always hit them with this oxymoron: I’m the girliest tomboy you’ll ever meet. New friends are always shocked when I tune them out because the Red Sox game is on, or when I’m standing on my soap box, vehemently preaching for a college football playoff system (don’t even get me started on the BCS bowl selections right now).

I’ve grown up around the sports industry, and working in it has always appealed to me. I think it might be the challenges that women in the male-dominated industry face, or that no two days are exactly the same for practitioners in the field. They deal with crises regularly– coaches’ tirades, law suits, drug scandals, injuries, murders. But as a whole, the sports industry, especially in terms of communications, has been making immense strides in the past few months as it addresses and overcomes these challenges.
As a sports enthusiast, I usually log onto ESPN’s website ten times a day. It’s not that I pride myself on staying up-to-date on every minute sports statistic, but I’ve discovered that some of the best journalists in today’s market write for ESPN. One of my favorite columnists, Bill Simmons, published a column this week called “A Letter to the Junior High Sports Guy.” If you’re a sports fan, I highly recommend reading this article. If you’re a mass media fan, I highly recommend reading this article. It’s an entertaining, informative piece that discusses how spoiled our culture has become in an age characterized by constant advancement in technology.

The fact that Simmons is a huge Red Sox fan is not the only reason why I agree with him. Getting together with a group of friends to catch the big game at a bar used to be the norm, but now people crowd around their Plasma TVs to watch expensive sports’ packages that entitle them to hours of nonstop games. But, if a game is blacked out, people will whine and complain about the inefficiency of the broadcasting system. I can’t lie—my friends and I are guilty of this, and I have to give Simmons a lot of kudos for calling us all out.

Another interesting point that Simmons makes is that “nobody has to leave their house to follow sports anymore.” This includes actually going to a sporting event at the team’s stadium. Small market teams in the NFL, like the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars, are having a difficult time filling their stadiums to a capacity that prevents television blackouts.

Is this because the fan base is waning, or because fans would rather watch the game from their own living rooms, hoping enough other fans purchase tickets? Sure, this is a long shot—going to NFL games is getting pretty expensive, which could play a huge factor in fan turnout, but you have to wonder what the effect of cable packages will be on the sports industry in the long run.

From a communications standpoint, this could prove to be a demanding challenge for those in sports PR and advertising. How will the communicators market sporting events if fans are perfectly content cheering on their favorite teams from their sofas? This is something I look forward to following in the upcoming months, but until then, I have to commend Simmons for putting this avid sports fan in her place.