Thursday, October 17, 2013

Swim for relief - Diana Nyad's 48-hour swim in Herald Square

Last Tuesday shortly before 9 a.m the long-distance swim legend Diana Nyad dove into the 120-foot long and two-lane wide pool in Herald Square and began swimming lap after lap.  In a pink swim cap she swam for 48 hours in a row to support Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.  
During these 48 hours of swimming she always had a guest swimmer with her in the water, from Olympic champs such as Ryan Lochte to Twilight stars like Nikki Reed, who put their heads and hearts into a couple of laps.  The water temperature was initially set at 84 degrees Fahrenheit but raised over time to 96 degrees to overcome the increasing autumnal chill during those days. 

The swim in Herald Square was a kick-off to a month-long effort to raise funds for AmeriCares, a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization that delivers medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in need around the world and across the United States. When Nyad finished her 48 hours she had already brought in about $105,000 in the AmeriCares Relief fund, and the fund raising campaign still continues. 
Procter & Gamble with their brands Duracell, Tide and Secret had underwritten all production costs for the Nyad Swim for Relief event.  

In addition, they had also made sure that there was a guest swimmer in the lane next to Nyad the entire time of 48 hours.  Other brands represented in this event were Charmin, Tampax, Olay, Head&Shoulders and Pantene.  A great partnership to do good, entertain, and educate!

Step & Repeat Inspiration

A new, attention-grabbing trend has been taking over events. Brands are incorporating more unique step & repeats and 3-D media backdrops in order to generate more buzz. 

Step and Repeats
Typically seen on the Red Carpet, step and repeats have struck new ground at different events. With the increase in social media use, step and repeats provide the perfect photo op for guests to upload to their Facebook, Twitter, and Instragrams, allowing brands to gain more impressions instantly. Rather than reaching only the guests who attend, their friends news feeds will be blown up with photos and awesome representation of your brand with these media backdrops. Recently, the following ideas have been used by brands that your brand can now use as inspiration!

Flower Power 
A few different brands have used flowers to build beautiful step and repeats.

Museum of Modern Art: MoMa hosted a film benefit which featured a step and repeat wall built out of 20,000 fresh crimson roses.

Warner Bros.: For the movie premiere of Valentine's Day, Warner Bros. partnered with Warriors in Pink to build a step and repeat featuring 3-D hearts made out of roses.

POPSUGAR: At a private, promotional event Popsugar put on, they set up a wall built out of fake bright and light pink roses. They had a professional photographer taking pictures of guests in front of the backdrop throughout the night, but guests were also seen taking lots of pictures of their own.

Incorporating New Products
For new product launches and sponsorship activations, brands have shown off their new products in a step and repeat.

New Balance: For their first store opening in New York, New Balance showed off a red carpet step and repeat at the VIP Preview with real shoes!

Absolut Vodka: Absolut has used 3-D step and repeats on multiple occasions now. At Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox shelves held up tons of their limited edition Absolut Vodka bottles. Also, for the launch of their new Orient Apple flavor, producers used gold painted apples to add to their step and repeat.

vitaminwater: vitaminwater has been known to get pretty creative with their backdrops. For the premiere of Gossip Girl, they used actual bottles of vitaminwater held up on shelves to decorate the step and repeat.

Other Noteworthy Ideas

Findlandia Vodka: For their new product launch, Finlandia featured an ice sculpture wall to be used similar to a media backdrop.

vitaminwater: As previously mentioned, vitaminwater has used unique step and repeats for a number of events now. For the Rooftop Series during the Toronto International Film Festival, they used antique frames to highlight their brand name.

Private Events: For a young girl's Bat Mitzvah, a Juicy Couture inspired step and repeat was used with life size charms for the chains on the gold stanchions- an idea that could easily be adapted for other events!

In conclusion, these media backdrops have proven to be a big hit at both promotional and private events. Getting creative with 3D products and other props can effectively grab the attention of guests and ensure social media buzz.

Friday, July 26, 2013

MLB All-Star Fan Fest

In honor of the MLB All-Star festivities, hosted at Citi Field in New York, we took a trip to Fan Fest at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to check out the special events and sponsorships!

As we previously mentioned during the NBA Championships, sports provide an excellent way for brands to engage with consumers. Different activities are often used for fans to really be given the opportunity to interact with the brands who sponsor these events, and even other brands who may not necessarily be large sponsors, but are also trying to widen their consumer base. Of the many notable events that were featured during the MLB Fan Fest, here are a few brands that presented unique ideas rallying in large numbers of fans:

T Mobile
As the main sponsor of the event, T-Mobile went above and beyond setting up large screens all over the event. The minute we walked in a giant display captured all eyes, playing historic moments in baseball and showing advertisements that were made to look like a poster, rather than a digital screen. These massive screens made quite the first impression for Fan Fest as guests entered the building. T-Mobile also fabricated an entire stadium in the middle of the convention center where fans tuned in to hear baseball tips from special guests, as well as practice and receive pointers on their different baseball skills.

Chevrolet/ General Motors
Hosting the All-Star Home Run Derby, Chevrolet created a mini replica version for Fan Fest guests to enjoy. With a large field inside and batting cages, visitors of all ages were invited to test out their batting skills and hit sky high home runs. In addition to the Home Run Derby, Chevrolet had new car models on display next to a giant baseball. Offering a chance to receive an MLB All-Star Souvenir, fans were lined up around the area throughout the entire day.

Taco Bell
One of the biggest hits of the entire event was Taco Bell's "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco." They created a mini stadium where visitors could run down a grassy pathway and steal a base just the way a professional player would. As they stole a base, digital screens above the runner would show a clip of a professional player sliding and stealing a base. Giving out coupons for free tacos, Taco Bell created a fun and exciting way to bring consumers back into stores.

Guests and fans lined up at Firestone's "Tire Tryout" all throughout the day. With one of the longest lines at the event, fans came to throw pitches through Firestone Tires at different distances. Younger kids were able to toss their ball through closer tires, while more skillful players could practice their curve balls and fast pitches through further tire set ups.

Though Scotts set up wasn't as interactive as others, it used a creative display to draw the attention of fans and presented a unique idea that could potentially be used in other settings. With a large pop-up block of grass, fans were able to feel what the official grass of the MLB is like to the touch. Brand ambassadors and a giant backdrop gave more facts regarding the specifics of MLB official grass.

In conclusion, similar interactive events can be used to increase participation and long-lasting impressions on consumers. Consumers are much more likely to purchase a product and feel more loyal if they are able to reference a personal connection. Events like these develop those personal connections. Other brands that used similar ideas during Fan Fest were: Gillette, Head & Shoulders, New Era, Duane Reade, Under Armour, Bayer, Topps, Pepsi, Blockbuster, Kellogg's, Tiffany & Co., and more!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sponsoring a Firework Spectacular!

With Independence Day in our rearview mirror, we can reflect on how brands leveraged the best Fourth of July Firework Spectaculars!

Each year hundreds of thousands of people come out to celebrate America on the 4th of July. With firework shows all over the country, brands are given an opportunity to make a lasting impression. Because a lot of these firework shows are given media attention, these sponsorships have the potential to reach millions of viewers within hours. Each city or state creates a unique experience, offering different activities and celebrations for guests to enjoy. Whether you use a smaller show, maybe specific to locals, or a larger show that the entire state comes out to watch, this holiday provides an unforgettable branding experience.

Boston Pops Firework Spectacular
With about 500,000 people attending the event, this annual show is proudly presented by Liberty Mutual. Always capturing the attention of locals, Boston CBS comes out to cover the excitement of Independence Day in Boston. Along with the broadcast, the Boston Pops website runs year round, already running a countdown to the next fourth of July. The website gives Liberty Mutual added publicity, even during the off season of the holiday.

Marina Del Rey Firework Celebration
Keeping to mostly local sponsors, the hotels around the area open up their hospitality to guests in honor of Independence Day. At the top of the list of sponsors is Marina Del Rey Lessees Association, followed by Pacifica Hotels and Tiki Mermaid Exotic Yacht Club. With special offers for hotel rates and different activities, these sponsors are able to reel in the attention of both travelers and locals.

San Diego Big Bay Boom 
One of the larger of the 4th of July firework shows is set in sunny San Diego, California. Over 500,000 people line up along the bays of San Diego to watch this captivating show. Organized along with other events throughout the day, different levels of sponsorship are offered mostly to hotels and restaurants in the area. The Grand Hyatt in San Diego, The Hilton San Diego, The Marriott Marquis San Diego, and others all offer their sponsorship for the big event. With prime locations for the firework show, they offer a great deals for guests to enjoy a getaway for the special holiday, really capitalizing on the opportunity. Also, the event benefits the Armed Services YMCA's Family Services, allowing these companies to give back to the community and nation.

And for the GRAND FINALE: Macy's Annual 4th of July Fireworks
Featured as an NBC special, this year was the 35th Annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks. As one of the largest independence day firework displays, millions easily associate special holidays with Macy's. 3,000 guests are invited to attend the event VIP, while around 3 million spectators watch from along the river. But the biggest impression Macy's makes is with their telecast, obtaining over 15 million viewers who tune in to watch the show on NBC. Their holiday marketing events are always capable of making significant statements, and as expected, their firework show blows it out of the water year after year. Also benefitting from this event are their partners and sponsors. This year Macy's created a #MacysFireworks hashtag, allowing viewers a chance to post and upload pictures and videos of their experience. Redirecting consumers to their website, their sponsors and partners such as KitchenAid, Kool Aid, Planters and others are gaining awareness. Still receiving thousands of tweets, this is sure to generate extra buzz.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Playoff Branding Bonuses

As NBA Championships come to a close, celebrations are in order. Not just for the ecstatic Miami Heat fans celebrating back to back titles, but for the brands who successfully sponsored events around the playoffs. 

Sports and Sponsorship

Sponsoring the NBA playoffs is a great way to reach a large, passionate audience.  And with all of the excitement, brands are in a position to capitalize on that good will!   Looking at the different events that have taken place in the last couple of years gives perspective on what works and the potential for future activations!

NBA Fan Jam

In 2012, Walmart sponsored NBA Fan Jam. Also sponsored by Sprint, they traveled to 8 different locations. Since the event took place at different Walmart locations, they directed traffic right back into their stores. Featuring appearances by players and NBA legends, they were able to attract a significant amount of people. They also had video game competitions, a fashion show featuring licensed apparel, and even allowed fans the chance to take a picture with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy!

NBA All Star Events 2013

Each year, the NBA hosts a series of All Star events featuring a wide variety of sponsorships. First, they had the All Star Fit Run, Walk & Dribble, presented by Sean John at Macy's. Kids come out from all over the country to participate.  An added bonus of the All Star events is that they all give back to different charities. This allows the sponsors an opportunity for great publicity and the audience another reason to participate.

Budweiser, always bringing top of the line creativity to market their brand, also created the Budweiser Experience during All Star Week. Celebrity appearances, basketball competitions, prize give aways, and even the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales came out to promote the NBA playoffs.

Another feature of All Star Week was E-Recycling presented by Sprint. Giving fans the opportunity to recycle electronics such as cell phones, Sprint caught the attention of their guests with the Mayor of Houston and NBA legends, Elvin Hayes and Calvin Murphy encouraging fans to recycle their left over electronics.

Taking playoff sponsorships to another level, State Farm puts on State Farm All Star Saturday Night. This event alone accounts for nearly 19,000 on-site impressions, plus many more media impressions. Obviously taking the most credit for the event is State Farm. However, many other brands utilize this night to their advantage as well. The event includes four competitions featuring some of the NBA's best players. The four branded events are the following:

Sears Shooting Stars Competition: With both NBA, WNBA and legendary players, this shooting contest is one for the books.

Taco Bell Skills Challenge: The NBA's top guards work against the clock in completing and obstacle course.

Foot Locker Three- Point Contest: Stars compete for the best three pointer.

Sprite Slam Dunk Grand Finale: The event everyone tunes in to see, the Slam Dunk Contest. The NBA's most famous dunkers compete with their jumps and dunks.

The largest advantage of sponsoring a playoff event is that the usual fan base only grows. People who wouldn't normally tune in for basketball games are watching. It is a constantly increasing audience, and you are able to reach new consumers. With that said, be sure to keep an eye out for new ideas during MLB Fan Fest and opportunities in the upcoming years!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dropping the Ball on Branding

With the increasingly popular music festivals like Govenor's Ball on Randall's Island, brands are able to reach a new segment of consumers with exciting and unique ideas!

Governor's Ball Music Festival

Though this wasn't the largest of music festivals, it still presented a unique environment for brands to embrace the crowds. Governor's Ball brought "22 1/2 hours of music to Randall's Island on Saturday and Sunday [and] was relatively modest as festivals go: about 21,000 people each day." (Source
With music festivals like Governor's Ball, Stagecoach, Coachella, and many more taking place all over the world, a new market for brands has been created. Featuring many different sponsors, Governor's Ball used new and creative ways to attract consumers to both newer and already well known brands. Examples of brands using the music festival's to their advantage over the June 7-9th weekend included:

Blu Electronic Cigarettes: Recently trending are electronic cigarettes. Blu e-Cigs sponsored one of the coolest set ups at the festival, the Vapor Lounge. At the Vapor Lounge, guests were invited to stop in to use device charging stations, use social media photo booths, and even try out and sample Blu's latest products. The Vapor Lounge also featured surprise guest appearances throughout the festival- something sure to get people's attention. Blu used ticket give aways prior to the music festival in order to redirect traffic to their websites and product locations ahead of time. This was a large sponsorship for this up and coming brand and it will certainly add to their recent success.

Camelbak: Being pretty well known for their reusable water bottles, they sponsored Governor's Ball in a big way. Concerts are infamous for their overpriced food and drinks. With that said, 
Camelbak embraced the opportunity to provide thousands of people with free water. They provided 8 refillable water stations for festival-goers to rehydrate. Additionally, they promoted an environmentally friendly way to drink water, which has a growing appeal amongst consumers. 

Onomonomedia: On the rise with their event photo booths is Onomonomedia. Their innovative photo booths specialize in uploading pictures straight to social media websites like FaceBook and Twitter. You are also able to share your photos via email to ensure you don't forget that fun or special moment. At Governor's Ball they placed two of their photo booths for the fun and wild fans to remember their time well spent. 

Sennheiser: A growing, premium audio company set up "The Silent Disco" for those at the Governor's Ball to enjoy. "The Silent Disco" allowed music fans to put on high quality, wireless headphones and listen in to the different DJs from afar. Whether you needed a break from the crowded stages or wanted to chat with friends and check in on the performances frequently, they created a unique way to advertise their advancing products.
Other brands responsible for similar sponsorships in the few past years include: Pop Up Yoga NYC, Hi-Chew, Skyy Vodka, Ben & Jerry's, Yelp, Pop Chips, Zia Records, Toyota, Budlight, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, and many others.

Along with these activities and sponsorships, these festivals usually operate high activity websites, where your brand, if featured, will receive a lot of publicity.

Sponsorships like these allow brands to be seen by thousands of people, usually of massive diversity, in a short period of time. It can often increase their sales and popularity rather quickly, giving brands a large incentive to participate in events like this. If your brand wants to associate with a favorite genre of music, say country for example, saddle up and prep an event for Stagecoach or the CMA Music Festival.