US Senator Politicizes National Guard-NFL Team Sports Marketing

Controversy has arisen about marketing sponsorship programs between NFL teams and the National Guard/Department of Defense.

US Senator Jeff Flake (R – Arizona) singled out the New York Jets in an April 30th press release, declaring  an “egregious and unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars by the New Jersey Army National Guard (NJARNG).”

It’s part of his #PorkChops series highlighting what he perceives to be government waste.  The story was reported locally in New Jersey on May 8th (Christopher Baxter and Jonathan D. Salant of NJ Advance Media for NJ.com).


Let’s explain what happened and then assess.

Credit:  NJ National Guard.

Credit: NJ National Guard.

The New Jersey National Guard (NJARNG) paid for a marketing sponsorship with the New York Jets the past four seasons (2011 to 2014).  The components were relatively standard fare for sports sponsorships.

Key features included:

  • Allow 10 NJARNG Soldiers to attend the Jets’ Annual Kickoff Lunch in New York City.  At the luncheon, the Soldiers will have the opportunity to meet and take pictures with various members of the Jets organization for promotional use for recruiting and retention purposes for the NJ Army National Guard.
  • In-stadium branding on monitors; Facebook social media promotion.
  • Allow NJARNG to participate in the Jets Hometown Huddle charity event in which Jets players and coaches will work side by side with the Soldiers to build or refurbish a community asset. i.e., build a new playground, rehab an existing park, etc. for promotional use for recruiting and retention purposes for the NJ Army National Guard.
  • 24 Game Access Passes.
  • Use of Atlantic Health Jets Training Center for up to 100 attendees to conduct formal meeting or event.
  • A videoboard feature – Hometown Hero.  For each of their 8 home game, the Jets will recognize 1-2 NJARNG Soldiers as Home Town Heroes.  Their picture will be displayed on the videoboard, their name will be announced over the loud-speaker, and they will be allowed to watch the game, along with 3 friends or family members, from the Coaches Club.

Total payments from the Department of Defense and the New Jersey National Guard to the Jets over four years were $377,000.

What’s so controversial, you may be wondering?

After all, we’re used to seeing a variety of marketing communications geared to promote recruitment for the various branches of the armed forces and to keep brand awareness strong (no complaints for The Few, The Proud, The Marines, I don’t think).

When we cut to the chase – shock and awe – politics are driving this controversy!


Let’s sort it out.

To begin, Flake’s press release is sensationalized, incomplete and out of context. Continue reading

This Law Firm is a Marketing Powerhouse

It’s no longer a surprise to see a law firm or medical practice marketing itself.

What stands out now is when one embraces marketing to grow its business — in this case a law firm advertising on sports radio station ESPN New York 98.7 FM.

That’s worth a deeper look.

Cordell & Cordell is a nationwide law firm that “levels the playing field for men in family law cases.”  They operate in 29 states, with more than 100 offices and a team of 170+ attorneys.

Credit: Cordell & Cordell.

Credit: Cordell & Cordell.

I like the fundamentals that underpin the Cordell & Cordell go-to-market and growth strategies.

1.  Sharp Business Focus.   There’s no room for misunderstanding.  Cordell & Cordell is “the law firm for men going through divorce and/or related issues such as child custody.”

2.  Clear Positioning and Defined Target.  Cordell & Cordell are “advisors and advocates for men before, during, and after divorce.”  Take a look at this TV commercial:

3.  Easy-to-Understand Services and Benefits.  Spend less than 30 seconds on their website and you know exactly what the law firm does and whether it matches what you’re looking for. Continue reading

NJ Hospital Improves Patient Experience with Free E-Cards

This is a special video podcast edition of Marketing World Today.

Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey prints and delivers free, same-day e-cards to patients.  It’s a small, patient experience touch-point that can make a big difference.

(Note: WordPress has disabled video play in emails, so please watch this video directly on my site.)

Harvey Chimoff is a marketing and business team leader who drives performance in consumer products and manufacturing companies. Contact him at hchimoff at gmail dot com.

“Magic Hour” is Real Deal Marketing for European Outdoor Clothing Brand

European outdoor clothing brand Peak Performance is running some outstanding marketing right now.

The brand, founded in Sweden in 1986, is owned by the Danish IC Group.  They sell clothing that caters to five broad target sectors: ski, outdoor, running, mountaineering, golf and bike.

I was not familiar with Peak Performance until I saw this advertisement (thanks Creativity):

It’s rare to see such marketing harmony between advertising, positioning, branding and promotion.  That’s why the Magic Hour marketing concept is terrific.

Specifically, the marketing/advertising idea captures the pure brand essence.  It delivers the brand idea in a stimulating way that makes core consumers, and maybe even potential consumers, want to get outside, be active and enjoy life.

What is the brand?

Peak Performance is a lifestyle brand with a real story and long history. The Peak Performance consumer is not divided into age groups or by gender.  We simply call our core consumers “Social Adventurers.” Continue reading

Uber Shifts Gears in Spain to Build Brand

Uber is an agile marketer and tenacious competitor.

The company is known for disrupting (positively, for the public) the taxi/car ride industry.

Whether by design or not, Uber has demonstrated many agile for marketing characteristics, including being flexible, experimental, empowering and customer focused.  As I’ll explain, Uber also seems to have a strong, clear vision that’s aligned with adaptive execution.  (Thanks to Barre Hardy of CMG Partners, and her recent webinar introduction to the agile for marketing concept.)

Vision and execution bring me to what Uber is doing in Spain.  

In December 2014, a Spanish court ruled that Uber could no longer operate its UberPop car sharing service in Barcelona.  Instead of being hamstrung, the company made a smart and creative brand-building pivot.  Uber switched gears to nurture its developing brand equity and maintain its business platform foothold.

In February, the company launched UberEats.

UberEATS - Barcelona, Spain. Translation: From hungry to happy in 10 minutes. Photo Credit: Uber.

UberEATS – Barcelona, Spain. Translation: From hungry to happy in 10 minutes. Photo Credit: Uber.

According to the intro blog post, UberEATS is “an on-demand food delivery service that gets you the best meals from the best local restaurants in under 10 minutes.”  (Uber has a similar Uber Fresh service in Los Angeles).

Here’s how Uber is executing the strategy: Continue reading

How To Take a Fresh Look, Get New Ideas & Tackle A Challenging New Job

Let’s say you’re a new business unit leader or CMO.

You want to get an unvarnished, 360-degree view of the situation and challenge at-hand.  You have to get prepared to give your boss an action plan.

What do you do and how do you do it?

To demonstrate, let’s use a high-profile, global example that just happened.  I’ll tell you who it is at the end of the post.

Blackboard with words Look Listen Learn

Image: iStock

Here are some of the steps taken by the new leader:

* Invited a range of outside industry experts to a private dinner.  They represented views both consistent with, and alternate to, the company’s strategic direction.

* The guests had to earn their meal by commenting on the most pressing problems facing the company.  Specifically, they were asked:  “Tell me something I don’t know;” and “Give me a new way of thinking about things.”

Continue reading

Whiplash Movie is Case Study for Terrible Leaders

“There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.”

So says  tyrannical band leader Terence Fletcher, brilliantly portrayed in an Oscar-winning performance by actor J.K. Simmons in the movie Whiplash.

J.K. Simmons (r) and Miles Teller in Whiplash. Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.

The psychological thriller provides a springboard into a number of rich discussion areas, including leadership and coaching.  I can see this movie being used as content in business schools and corporate training sessions to help teach leaders what not to do. 

For example, toward the end of the movie, emerging drummer Andrew (Miles Teller) is conversing with Fletcher.  The topic is just how far a leader can go to get the best out of someone, and via what methods.  Andrew asks if there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed.  It’s clear he’s referring to Fletcher’s button-pushing, take-no-prisoners approach to make people the best they can be (according to him).  The response: No.

My response: Absolutely yes.

Band leader Fletcher sprints across that line from the get-go.  His abusive toolkit also includes: Continue reading