Category Archives: Promotions/Tactics

Humorous Twitter Character Fights Severe Drought in California

Changing behavior is one of the hardest things to do in marketing.

In drought-stricken California, the nonprofit Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) has rolled-out a creative marketing campaign to persuade consumers to conserve water.

Photo: Southern California Water Committee.

Photo: Southern California Water Committee.

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Pro Teams Score with Direct-to-SportsFan Marketing

Increasingly, professional sports teams are taking their important communication messages directly to fans.

Powered by the ubiquity of the Internet and fan tethering to social media platforms, direct-to-sportsfan (D2SF) marketing offers pro teams an unprecedented, and unfiltered, communication vehicle to their fans and season ticket-holders.

Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins. Photo: Brooklyn Nets website.

Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins. Photo: Brooklyn Nets website.

What is direct-to-sportsfan marketing?

D2SF is a hybrid marketing strategy designed to enhance the relationship, connection and relevance between teams and their fans, especially season ticket-holders, via the creation and direct sharing of special access, customized content.  It’s a combination package of marketing communications, content marketing, public relations, customer engagement and social media marketing.

Tactics include:

  • In-house Broadcasting.  Teams create their own reporting and broadcast content, typically with their own, paid journalists.
  • Coach-To-Fan Communication.  This takes the form of letters, short videos and recorded telephone messages.
  • Owner-To-Fan Communication.  Public letters, season ticket-holder messages and tweets are commonly used.

Communications expert Ivy Cohen, president and CEO of Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications, provides some perspective to help understand this developing marketing philosophy:

“The fan-team relationship is a symbiotic one.  Teams need fans to establish the value of their brands and keep the franchise flourishing.  Fans want to connect with their favorite teams for the psychic rewards of competition, winning, belonging, and a variety of benefits that come with entertainment, love of sport and following a season.”

Cohen adds:

“When player contracts were long-term, fans felt strong ties to individual players, the team brands were represented by a steady player roster and fans had strong team brand loyalty and player attachments.  Since that system eroded, fans need more and meaningful ways to feel an ongoing connection to a team.  Fans want to feel connected to their team and are seeking a persona to contribute that.  Owners and coaches can be strong representatives for their teams.”

Overall, as a targeted sports fan recipient myself, I like to see what the coaches or owners have to say unfiltered.  It’s a nice supplement to all the sports journalism.  And, as a marketing observer, it’s interesting to note what and how teams decide to communicate.


Let’s look at two examples from the past few weeks.

Jason Kidd Letter to Bucks Fans.  Posted 7/7/2014 to Milwaukee Bucks website.

Jason Kidd Letter to Bucks Fans. Posted 7/7/2014 to Milwaukee Bucks website.

Jason Kidd is the new coach of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, having controversially orchestrated his departure from the Brooklyn Nets sideline. You can read his letter of introduction to Wisconsin fans:

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Coke Turns Used Soda Bottles into Fun Tools in Vietnam

What if you could turn a used soda bottle into a paint brush, pencil sharpener or water squirter?

You can.  In Vietnam.  Thanks to Coca-Cola.

The soda giant has launched a simple, yet brilliant marketing promotion that combines environmentalism with brand building.

Coca-Cola 2nd Lives marketing program in Vietnam. Photo: Ogilvy & Mather China.

Coca-Cola 2nd Lives marketing program in Vietnam. Photo: Ogilvy & Mather China.

Coke is giving away a series of 16 special caps that screw onto used soda bottles and transform them into fun and useful objects. Consumers get the caps for free upon product purchase.

The program is called 2nd Lives, and is part of Coke’s sustainability efforts. Continue reading

At One Stadium, Rookie Zevia Pushes Pepsi From Starting Lineup

It’s fun to watch the marketing underdog in action.

Starting this season, the Oakland Athletics will sell the first-ever naturally sweetened, zero calorie soda in Major League Baseball.  That’s because California-based Zevia Zero Calorie Soda is now the team’s official soda sponsor.

Photo: Zevia.

Photo: Zevia.

It’s quite the accomplishment for underdog Zevia, which produced $60 million in 2013 sales.  Pepsi held the soda sponsorship in previous years, and will still be available at the stadium, though.

The Zero Calorie Soda of the Oakland Athletics partnership includes: Continue reading

Swedish Flooring Company Gives Away Flip-flops To Sell New Product

iStockphoto.com

Photo: iStock.

A Swedish flooring company demonstrates you can breathe new life into an old marketing tactic: sampling.

No, I’m not talking about carpet squares mounted on a board or a child’s toy-sized piece of wood floor.

Forbo Flooring Systems, working with agency Valentin&Byhr, figured out how to break-through to the architects who spec their products.  They created flip-flops made from the floor material, and packed it up in a gift box: Continue reading

Dodge Durango Marketing and the Legend of Ron Burgundy

Did you see Will Ferrell being interviewed in Ron Burgundy character last week on Conan O’Brien?  Funny stuff.

It was part of the marketing for the upcoming movie sequel: Anchorman 2 – The Legend Continues.

That marketing also includes Dodge Durango using Ferrell portraying Ron Burgundy to sell cars.

Photo: Dodge Facebook.

Photo: Dodge Facebook.

Dodge-Anchorman Marketing Connection

Beyond the Conan O’Brien show laughs, I noted and then had to check Conan’s comment about how the Ferrell/Burgundy commercials increased Dodge Durango sales 59% in October.  Yep, Conan had his math right.  As for the causal effect, more in a moment. Continue reading

For a Close Shave, It’s Captain America to the Rescue?

Kiehls Comic Book CoverWhy is there a Captain America comic book inside my Wall Street Journal?

That’s what I wanted to know last week.

The answer:  Kiehl’s, the self-proclaimed “purveyors of the finest skin care” products, wants to boost sales with men.

So they targeted WSJ readers in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco on June 6th with a high-quality Marvel custom edition insert.  It caught my attention for marketing investigation purposes.

Call it content marketing, branded content or co-branding.  The “comic book” features a Captain America cover and 12-page custom comic book story, plus seven more pages of men’s skincare advertising from Kiehl’s, who claim they don’t advertise.

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I understand the marketing logic for high-end grooming products targeted to men who read The Wall Street Journal.  The newspaper has frequent ads for premium-priced products, including for men.

It’s hard to explain the comic book connection, though. Continue reading