Snip.it is a great tool for posting and syndicating artifacts and ideas. A new Snip.it collection that I’ve just created will allow me to continue sharing snips relevant to sports marketing, more regularly and widely, in 2013 and beyond!
Please connect with me on Snip.it, as well as the other social profiles I’ve listed in the right column of this page.
As always, I hope you find my periodic entries to be great inspirational fodder for sports marketing innovation. If you have any thoughts or findings along these lines, I would be excited to receive and discuss.
Looking forward to continuing the exchange of ideas, and staying in touch with you.
Since my last blog post, I’ve been obsessed with Callaway Golf. The past 18 months have been nothing short of amazing. Rounds and rounds of refining the strategic and creative work. All of the shoots. Phil, JT, JB, Alvaro, Annika, Freddie, Tommy–I even play with 2 gloves now! It’s been an adrenaline rush and, I can honestly say without a doubt, the most fun I’ve ever had in my career. There’s so much great work to share. What follows is the tip of the iceberg, with even more to come in 2012. As I write this, it’s truly exhilarating, and such a deep honor, to begin planning for 2013 alongside so many talented and genuine leaders.
Callaway Golf Company creates products and services designed to make every golfer a better golfer. Since winning global agency of record last year, my work at Factory Design Labs has been focused on leading the development of integrated go-to-market plans for all of Callaway’s key business categories: Woods, irons, golf balls, soft goods, and interactive golf services. As a result of the following work, this has very recently helped garner the Odyssey Golf agency of record honors as well.
Take a look at golf today. Golf course after golf course; talking head after talking head. People have stopped listening. Our first challenge was to develop a campaign that would prove the amazing performance of Callaway’s new driver, irons, and golf ball products in disruptive, fun ways.
So we created a series of TV spots, to re-launch Callaway in epic fashion and take golf advertising to another level. Developed in creative partnership with Emmy and Grammy Award-winning actor, musician, and avid golfer, Justin Timberlake, as well as music video director Joseph Kahn (U2, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and 50 Cent), these “epic” commercials featured Callaway’s innovative new products and its pro golfers on the biggest stage: The Las Vegas Strip. View the commercials and other behind-the-scenes content from the shoot here: http://www.callawaygolf.com/fountains; http://www.callawaygolf.com/rooftops; http://www.callawaygolf.com/volcano
Before the first spot even aired, initial media impressions from earned and shared media during production shoots alone represented figures that outweigh what many campaigns achieve throughout their entire run through paid media. The commercials have garnered coverage with numerous media outlets, including SportsCenter and USA Today. One of the three spots was featured as Adweek’s prestigious Ad of the Day. From February to April, unit sales for the driver product alone increased +16% with retail sales increasing +93% over its predecessor.
Manufacturers talk about what their products can do and support them with outrageous claims. But is there noticeable proof that real golfers can believe and translate to their game? Our next challenge was to prove that Callaway’s new driver was longer and better than any other driver in the market. And we showcased this by letting real golfers prove it for themselves.
We found golfers everywhere and had them test out the new driver. Through video and golf launch monitors, along with a custom iOS and Web app to capture all golfer data, we captured their reactions to how the driver compared to their old driver. We showcased the data and housed all of these reactions on a robust and dynamic web platform, at http://www.callawaygolf.com/realresults for the rest of the world to witness. To kickoff the Real Results Project, we conducted a series of live events in various locations in California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, and Ohio.
As more events are planned for the future, the campaign continues to capture more golfers taking part in Real Results Project with participating Dick’s Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy (http://www.golfgalaxy.com/callaway_real_results.aspx), and Callaway Performance Center locations across the country. All locations utilize the custom application to upload new golfer data to the site.
For an industry like golf, which provides perhaps the most customizable equipment in sport, personalization is still in its infancy. Not even Nike provides the Nike iD for golf… until now. If you can change the materials and appearance of your shoes and other products then why, we asked, can’t you choose the performance and look of something as personal as our driver?
We integrated driver customization with personalization and created an application that put the tools in golfers’ hands—as with the Real Results Project experience, it’s completely compatible on all of the three screens. With the udesign site, at http://www.callawaygolf.com/udesign, golfers can now pick from thousands and thousands of configurations including any of 8 club and grip color combinations (http://pinterest.com/callawaygolf/customize-your-driver-with-udesign/). And we’re just getting started. This is the first, revolutionary step in a bigger endeavor. We’re helping Callaway, and undoubtedly the industry as a whole at some point soon, develop a whole new business category.
Along with converting sales and cultivating loyal customers, I don’t know that there’s anything more rewarding for a marketer than when marketing can make a real impact on product. It just doesn’t happen very often in big business, partly because of the risk/reward and effort required to do it right. Callaway has committed to augmenting their supply chain structure, operations, and e-commerce processes. It’s a truly amazing achievement and, as testament, one that’s taking notice in endemic and non-endemic circles alike.
Attending the Sports Marketing 2.0 VIP Summit last week in San Francisco, one of the panel discussions touched on thinking of ways to extend existing resources/programming to create other entertaining content and experiences. Filling downtime before and between action, with exclusive access to places and people of interest, was one suggestion. While arguably compelling for über fans, it got me to thinking about ways to engage more casual fans and influential family and friends that may not otherwise choose professional sports for regular entertainment. PUMA’s After Hours Athlete digital social program has some holes, but trying to connect with everyday folks by elevating leisure games in a fun way is an interesting concept. (The VR/Urban SMSlingshot and Multi-Touch DJ Light Table examples included below have admittedly loose ties to this subject, but they’re pretty cool and I just had to share here.)
Separately, one extension of the EYEPLY mobile service that I’ve been developing is a social mural in which marketers and regular folks alike can share messages via digital signage in ultra-local areas such as sports venues. The Canadian Tourism Commission recently installed an interactive Twitter mural that scratches the surface of this service.
Lastly, with so much emphasis on checking-in at locations and how to transform these features into more lasting value for users, some resorts haven’t overlooked facilitating the check-in process and have created networks based on actively scanning-in customers.
Small advances in smarter shopping tools are helping shoppers, and better enabling shoppers to help other shoppers, with research and decision-making. Google’s visual shopping acquisition, Like.com, allows users to quickly find items with similar visual attributes, services like Westfield’s Fashion Detector encourage shopping influencers, the “Groupon phenomenon” as well as promotions such as Uniqlo’s Lucky Counter allow digital social to drive discounts and prices, and game publishers such as EA continue to develop downloadable online content for micro-purchases.
Combine some of the elements from these examples with real-time customer tracking reporting and analytics in sports venues, such as the NY Jets Command Center dashboard, and you have the potential to create new revenue opportunities for sports brands and an incredibly intelligent buying engine and audience that can both keep up with the speed of live events.
My focus over much of the first part of this year has admittedly been on extending the visual and tactile experiences at live sporting events through the development of EYEPLY—video of the alpha, which was recently demonstrated at a live NCAA men’s baseball game, is now posted!
A few finds that piqued my interest recently got me to thinking about ways that we might further events by affecting sound in order to bring fans together in new ways. Evolving the Fan-0-Meter.
Also, has anyone else gotten a headache with all the 3D hype? Or, at least feel a little queasy when wearing the glasses? I’m much more intrigued by the prospects of holographic TV!
Digital badges can be interesting when the effort and competition make them valuable. Likewise, optional electronic check-in services are best when you get something of value in return (going beyond the proof that you checked-in). Perhaps, it is for this reason that I just haven’t been able to get into virtual gift giving and collection. But add some automation and simple engagement to make these gifts more dynamic, and I start to see the point. Gowalla and Nike seem to be taking this idea in interesting directions. I especially like the Gowalla feature that allows users to contribute to an item’s history before dropping it for someone else to find, and the possibilities for live sporting events.
In addition to other findings this month, which are continuations of previous subjects and included further below, the Chicago White Sox have created a virtual tour specifically targeted at its corporate partnerships for U.S. Cellular Field that is worth sharing. [Shameless plug: EYEPLY can merge physical and digital infrastructures, enhancing in-venue media networks using mobile augmented reality, advanced pointing search, and other location-based platforms. Check it out!]
Virtual Good Placements, Pick-ups, and Contributed History
While video remains one of the best methods for storytelling, technology solutions (albeit with added infrastructure and upfront planning) continue to make it more tangible for the audience. To continue this thought, which began in previous posts with “different angles” and “manipulation tools” (see Yinzcam here and others here), Immersive Video’s “spherical storytelling” approach is another example of handing over some controls to the audience and adding new dimensions to enrich video content.
And, speaking of tangibility and dimensionality, prediction games help personify products and services as well as generate new levels of relevancy and interest. Gaming and fantasy sports are not new, and yet Red Interactive Agency’s Foodball campaign shows us another way to apply its mechanics; Sports Illustrated’s forthcoming Tablet conceptualizes how games might be implemented from more of a micro (e.g., play-by-play) perspective.
To wrap up 2009, I’ve also included a few other recent odds and ends that I’ve touched on previously. Enjoy!