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  • A Video "Thank You" For Your Support of the 2012 Intersport Activation Summit

    Video thank-you from Intersport and SportsBusiness Journal/Daily.

  • Vaporizing the wall between consumer and brand

    During a briefing that closed out the inaugural Intersport Activation Summit, Randall Brown, Gatorade’s global director of digital strategy, talked about the effect of the company’s two-year-old “Mission Control” social media command center.

    “Now the wall between the brand and the consumer is vaporized,” Brown said. “It is dedicated space for consumer engagement.”

    The five-member “Mission Control” center was created to focus and leverage the company’s social media efforts.
    Brown outlined three “vectors” of “Mission Control.”

    “It is a way for consumers to directly engage with the brand,” he said. “The second piece is that consumers have a voice, and the last point is that brands are no longer what you sell, but how you behave.”

    Brown stressed the command center’s ability to use “purposeful experimentation” and to collect insights from the company’s social media efforts to drive the brand.

    “You want to put decision making as close to the insights as possible to make real time decisions,” he said.

    Tags: Media, IBL
  • Properties, teams doing more to help activate at retail

    Properties and teams are doing a better job of understanding companies’ retail needs and working to customize opportunities that allow brands to get a better return on their investment. 

     

    Activation at Retail


    Paul Bamundo, Subway
    John DeWaal, Hat World/Lids
    Alison Giordano, MasterCard
    Drew Iddings, Hershey Co.
    Tom Manchester, Dunkin' Brands
    John Peirano, Cystosport/Muscle Milk

    During a panel on retail activation, John Peirano, Muscle Milk’s senior vice president of marketing, pointed to new packaging that Muscle Milk will roll out this summer as an example of the flexibility that properties and teams are beginning to show. Though they are archrivals, the logos of both the University of Southern California and the University of California Los Angeles will be featured together on Muscle Milk in California. 

     

    “Getting those two schools on board to use co-marks was very difficult, but in the end it was worth it,” Peirano said. 

    Drew Iddings, senior manager of consumer promotions for Hershey Co., agreed that properties had made some strides in their willingness to cooperate, but said they still struggle to understand that companies like Hershey need customizes point-of-sale promotions for different retailers. 

     

    “The Walmarts and Targets of the world want a unique activation,” Iddings said. “We can’t sell the same thing to Target we sell to Walmart. We need a program we can activate nationally, but can customize.” 


    The power of sports as a platform to appeal to consumers at retail is taking on global importance at Subway. The company has found so much value in its designation as “the official training restaurant” of athletes that it is beginning to use some of the athletes it endorses, like Michael Phelps, in markets ranging from Africa to Mexico. 

     

    “It’s a best practice for us,” said Paul Bamundo, Subway’s director of sports marketing, PR and partnerships. “You’re going to see us look for athletes more and more we can use internationally.”

     

    But sports aren’t the only platform that brands are activating at retail. Dunkin’ Donuts has partnered with movies in recent years and used the national appeal of Hollywood to expand its brand awareness outside the Northeast. 

     

    “It’s really helped our brand become more of a national brand and be seen nationally versus some of the local initiatives we’ve done,” said Tom Manchester, Dunkin’ Brands vice president of field marketing.

    Tags: Subway, MasterCard, Rivals, Target
  • Hospitality's holy grail: Creating the unforgettable experience

    Maximizing hospitality as a return on investment hinges on one major issue -- creating for clients unforgettable experiences that will continue long after the game ends.

    Hospitality as an ROI Builder


    Wally Hayward, Chicago Cubs
    Chuck Johnsen, Intersport
    Steve Pamon, JPMorgan Chase
    Mark Rooks, PepsiCo
    Shawn Quill, KPMG

    “Things that last beyond the event are the key to success,” said Steve Pamon, head of sports and entertainment marketing for JP Morgan Chase. “You have to know who you are talking to and what motivates them.”

     At Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs are pushing hospitality experiences and opportunities beyond the 81 regular season home games.

     “We are doing different events to create emotional experiences that are customized to deliver results,” said Wally Hayward, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for the team.
    But the even the best planned events can fail if there is a lack of execution.

    “We bring hundreds of people to the Super Bowl every year,” said Todd Kaplan, director of sports marketing for Pepsi. “The devil is in the details. There is a lot of planning to do.”

    Chuck Johnsen, senior vice president of strategic partnerships for Intersport, said that leveraging hospitality into new business is based on the quality of relationships between the client and company.

    “It all boils down to relationships,” he said. “How well you know your customer.”

    Today, with more pressure to deliver results on hospitality spending, companies are more closely tracking who is sitting in their suites and seats.

    “We make sure we have the right person there,” said Shawn Quill, director of sports marketing and sponsorships for KPMG. “We have steps along the way to do that. We have found that quality has gone dramatically up.”

    Tags: Chicago Cubs, JPMorgan Chase, PepsiCo, TES, Super Bowl
  • Featured Interview: Roger Goodell

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    Photo by: Enter Name Here
    During a wide-ranging interview at the 2012 Intersport Activation Summit, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell touched on everything from his relationship with the NFLPA to opportunities in Latin America to making Thursday night an NFL football night every week. He also talked about his personal man cave, and what he thinks of those long hugs on draft night. Here’s the interview, which was conducted by Charlie Besser, president and CEO of Intersport. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

    Question: Does the NFL plan to make the in-stadium experience it offered at this year’s Super Bowl, which featured accessibility on the big screen, statistics, highlights and replays, more consistent across the league?
    Goodell: It’s a very big initiative for us. The experience at home is so great … it’s challenging to get people to come into stadiums. One of the things we’re concerned about is that we ask our fans to disengage when they come into our stadium: they can’t use their cell phones, they can’t get video, they can’t do a lot of things you can do walking down the street. We have to make that better.
    Part of it is making sure we bring technology into the stadium so they can get access to the Red Zone, NFL.com or any other app they have. Beyond technology, you have to make sure they’re safe and entertained from the moment they walk in to when they walk home.

    Question: Do you run into resistance on that?
    Goodell: Some teams take the approach that this is a football game and part of our experience is a very traditional experience. The thing is not: Do we want to entertain our fan? It’s, How do we entertain our fan? It’s technology versus traditional. It’s how we move down that sphere and make it more entertaining without losing that tradition.

    Question: What does the NFL do to act less as an administrator for sponsors and more as a partner?
    Goodell: It starts with philosophy. It’s not just about slapping a company’s logo with the NFL logo. Do we have the same, common interest? Are we trying to accomplish something that makes sense for the company partnering with us? Is there something the company can provide to help us achieve an objective? One of the things we’re really focused on is how we bring technology into the stadium. We want to find partners that want to help us do that. Along the way they can help our initiatives and we can help their initiatives. I’m a firm believer that a great deal of our success is because of our partners.

    Question: What impact do you think the Dodgers sale has on NFL valuation?
    Goodell: I don’t think a lot. When people are buying a particular asset, they’re looking at what they’re buying. In the Dodgers, you have a great stadium and great brand and you also have some opportunities on the media side, some of which we don’t have in the NFL. I believe that the sports brands are limited. That has an increase in the value.
    One of the things we focus on is not how much we can get for a franchise but keeping owners in. We want to keep stability in the league and allow them to get value by owning a franchise, not by selling.

    Question: What’s happening in Los Angeles, and how do you see that effort playing out?
    Goodell: We do not want to come back in to Los Angeles and fail. We haven’t been there for 17 years now. The NFL has done great. Los Angeles has done great. We can survive without each other. But this is a case of one and one equals three, four, five.
    It starts with the right facility. We have to have the right facility to make the team successful. Whenever we come back we do it in the right way. It’s got to be big and it’s got to be great. It’s got to have a wow factor because you’re in the entertainment capital of the world.

    Question: Where is the NFL’s future growth going to come from?
    Goodell: Our game has a great opportunity to grow with the way technology is developing. People are consuming content on every single one of their devices and we’re there. There’s never a better time to be an NFL fan than right now because you can get NFL football anytime you want. What we’re trying to do is build a 365-day calendar of football – not games – but we’re building the combine, we’re building the draft, we’re building camps.

    Question: Will strong content help grow the sport internationally?
    Goodell: That’s another area of growth for us. We don’t have to rely on international broadcasters any more to distribute our product. I can remember in the ‘90s one of my jobs in international was essentially begging broadcasters to put us on. Now we can go directly to fans, and it’s working. This will be our sixth game overseas in London and every year it gets bigger and better. We’re going to potentially expand out to two games next year.

    Question: Do you see Latin America as an area for growth?
    Goodell: Absolutely. Particularly Mexico. We’d like to get back there with a regular season game. Our broadcast opportunities have continued to grow.

    Question: Do you think we’re going to see games on Hulu, Amazon or NetFlix?
    Goodell: We just extended our broadcast contracts with all of our broadcast partners. We’re proud of that. Being available on free television is a big factor in the NFL’s growth. We have five different networks promoting the NFL on a weekly basis. That’s a huge advantage for us. What we now want to focus on is how we take complementary media and continue to build that and engage our fans on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week. NFL.com and NFL Network provide a huge opportunity for us.

    Question: What is next for the NFL Network?
    Goodell: We started with our Thanksgiving Thursday nights. Now we’re going to fill in those other Thursdays for the rest of the season and create Thursday night as a night of football. They’ve done an extraordinary job of promoting the NFL and they’ve forced our other partners to step up their game.

    Question: Do you see playoff games on the network?
    Goodell: I don’t in the short term. We’ve extended our agreements for the next 11 years. There’s no opportunity within that context to do that. I guess if we expanded our playoffs we’d have the potential for that. But right now we like being available on the broadest possible distribution.

    Question: What’s your feeling about an 18-game schedule?
    Goodell: We don’t need four preseason games. We probably need two at the most. The fans don’t like the preseason product. It’s not up to NFL standards. We have to think about whether or not we can flip two preseason games for two regular season games. The factor you have to analyze there is player safety. We had the chance to do that unilaterally, but we want to do it with our partners. As we continue our efforts to make the game safer, we’ll do that. Otherwise, we’ll look at other opportunities like 16 and two.

    Question: It was announced this week that the Pro Bowl will take place again in Hawaii. How was that decision made?
    Goodell: There was a lot of discussion with the players. The last three Pro Bowls we saw declining quality of play. We said, ‘We’re not going to continue to do this.’ The players felt strongly they could make the game more competitive. They had ideas to do that. We’re going to support them in doing that.

    Question: So this is about protecting the brand?
    Goodell: It is. The Pro Bowl still got an 8 rating. My view is just because you can get an 8 rating doesn’t mean its good for your brand. We have to represent quality in every opportunity. If it’s not representing quality, I’d rather not do it.

    Question: How have the New Orleans decisions reflected your belief about the culture of the league?
    Goodell: In this case, it was creating a culture of safety. It’s about making sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure our players are as safe as possible in a tough game. It was clear to me when we discovered there was a bounty program that we had to take a strong stand. People need to understand its not acceptable in football, it’s not part of football in any part of the game. We made it clear we weren’t going to accept it. We wanted to make sure if anybody decided this was the way to go they understood the consequences were very real.

    You consistently face tough decisions. Who do you go to when you have a hard decision to make?
    Goodell: I rely on our staff and our club people. We have 32 clubs with tremendous resources, from ownership right across the organization, that has an important perspective.
    Anytime you isolate yourself and think you have the all the answers and go in a room and come out with an answer, you have a problem. Our issue is to listen to other perspectives, most importantly the ones you disagree with. Sometimes it moves you to a third solution, and it’s better.
    Don’t rush to judgment. Try to make sure you have all the facts straight and do the right thing regardless of the consequences. It’s not easy to suspend someone but ultimately it’s in the best interest of the sport long term.

    Question: What is the status of the relationship with the NFLPA?
    Goodell: I’ve read recently that we can’t agree on anything. We agreed on the Pro Bowl yesterday. My predecessor was being accused of being too close to Gene Upshaw and Gene Upshaw was accused of being too close to Paul (Tagliabue).
    I don’t know if there’s ever a right relationship there other than respect. We’re interested in doing what’s best for the game at all times. We may not agree on everything but we’ll work it out. I think we proved that last year. We went through a difficult labor issue but we came through it.

    Question: Do you get a chance to get out to games?
    Goodell: I do have a man cave at home, which has a lot of dolls around because I have twin girls who are 10. I try and stay one weekend at home. It’s important to see the experience on TV. I probably go to 25 games a year.

    Question: As you look out, what do you view as your biggest challenge?
    Goodell: Safety. We’ve been very open about the challenges we have on that front, making rule changes, getting better equipment, pioneering research that makes the game better for our athletes. Not just our game. The things we’ve learned in football and things we’re bringing to the game are helping other sports. Concussions aren’t solely a football issue. Other sports have them. In fact, women’s soccer has the second highest level of concussions.

    Question: What’s up with the NFL draft hugs? They’re getting uncomfortably long.
    Goodell: It’s funny. I meet with all the draft-eligible players the day before. They always ask: what’s that moment like? These kids have been dreaming about this and working towards this. This is their moment. They’ve finally made it into the NFL.
    There was no surprise for Andrew [Luck]. He knew the Colts were taking him but when he walked out on the stage it was that moment of achievement and triumph. For me, to be part of that, is a cool thing. But these guys, they wrap you up. The first guys that did it to me was Gerald McCoy a few years ago. He hit me so hard I thought I was going off the stage.

    Tags: NFL, Football, Super Bowl, Versus
  • Long-term naming rights still viable, valuable

    Long-term naming rights deals, though elusive for some new venues, continue to be a vital tool for some companies, not as a short-term marketing fix but as the underpinning of a relationship with both consumers and business partners, said panelists at the 2012 Intersport Activation Summit.

    Activating Naming Rights After Year One, Year Two and Beyond


    Alan Ferber, U.S. Cellular
    Richard Hong, MetLife
    Jeff Knapple, Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment
    Brian Mirakian, Populous Activate
    Greg Via, Procter & Gamble

    “If you designed it to fit a marketing campaign that’s going to come and go, then you’ve missed the mark,” said Jeff Knapple, executive vice president of Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment. “It’s a long-term proposition. Building brand value with consumers is an every day of the year, every year of the decade job.”

    U.S. Cellular Exec VP and Chief Strategy & Brand Officer Alan Ferber said that the target when his company originally signed a naming-rights deal with the White Sox nine years ago was to raise awareness about the brand, which was new to the Chicago market. “Naming-rights deals for an existing stadium are particularly tricky,” he said, “especially one with a long-held name like Comiskey Park. We were really specific that we wanted the money to go toward something that created a better fan experience. We said all the money needs to go to renovating the stadium. That’s exactly what happened.”

    Richard Hong, vice president of global brand marketing for MetLife, said that one of the challenges in making a long-term commitment for the stadium that houses the NFL Giants and Jets was future-proofing the deal. “It’s the part where people get awfully creative about what the future may bring in terms of changes to the sport, how it’s broadcast [and] what technology may bring,” he said.

    Hong suggested that companies “assume that the environment will change and program some kind of open period where the parties can come back together and, in the spirit of the partnership, reassess what is going on.” 

    Gillette Sports Marketing Global Director Greg Via said his company did just that, renegotiating its naming-rights deal for the Patriots’ stadium and then recently renewing the contract. Gillette had originally signed the deal in 2002 when it was a stand-alone company, but after being bought by Procter & Gamble in 2005, Gillette executives met back with the Patriots to add terms. “When P&G came and bought the company, the dynamics changed, the sales force changed,” Via said. “We don’t activate locally, we now have to activate nationally. So it was a little more complex operation.” Gillette also added signage for the practice field, interview backdrops and practice jerseys into the contract.

    QUICK HITS:

    Populous Associate Principle Brian Mirakian, on the inventory of sports venues: “The landscape has evolved pretty rapidly. What we have to continually challenge ourselves with is, if we’re going to create buildings and we’re going to bring people from their homes, where they are comfortable and they have their 65-inch plasma and they’re able to check their fantasy stats during a football game, what are we going to do to bring people to these buildings and to create an environment that’s connectable?”

    Knapple, on the future of sports venues: “If we’re going to build these stadiums, new ones specifically, then the more technology drives decision making, the more activation can happen, the more social media can happen, the more a building has to try to be alive 365 days a year. The owners need to think though -- they can’t just build seats any longer, they can’t just build premium spaces anymore -- it’s how they can create a destination.”

    Tags: Naming Rights, Populous, Target, NFL, DC
  • Authenticity increasingly important in activation efforts

    Authenticity will play an increasing role in content development as part of the next generation of content activation, said six experts on a panel today at the 2012 Intersport Activation Summit.

    The Role of Content in Next-Gen Activation


    Diane Penny, Learfield Sports
    John Pierce, U.S. Olympic Committee
    Scot Thor, Intersport
    Ron Wechsler, NBC Sports Network
    Norby Williamson, ESPN

    “Be genuine,” said Greg Jacobs, head of distribution for Red Bull Sports. “Pick a platform. It might not have the ROI, but it might have the right fit.”

    ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming Norby Williamson said that profitability is keyed to credibility. “To drive business, you have to speak in an authoritative voice,” he said. “Fans will see through it if you are not.” Williamson added that a willingness to take programming risks will pay off in attracting advertising revenue. “The business strategy has to come into it, but at some point it can thwart the creative process,” he said. “A lot of great ideas have been killed because it doesn’t look good on paper.”

    Ron Wechsler, vice president of original programming for NBC Sports Network, said that quality content will push revenue. “Develop content that is meaningful and impactful and the advertising dollars will follow eventually,” he said.

    Scot Thor, Intersport senior vice president of programming and production   said brands are realizing that they can speak directly to the consumer through digital video. “We have seen brands integrate into content,” he said. “Don’t create content just to create it.”

    The development of content must also be increasingly unique, said Diane Penney, vice president of digital and television media for Learfield Sports.

    “It is not a one size fits all,” she said. “What we leverage is behind-the-scenes content.”

    John Pierce, managing director of marketing services for the U.S. Olympic Committee, said one of the USOC’s goals with its broadcast partners is to raise the level of engagement among viewers, with an emphasis on feel- good Olympic stories. “Our job is to tell their stories,” he said. “There are tons of other media outlets covering the other side of the Olympics. Our job is to tell the positive stories.”

    Tags: Naming Rights, Populous, ESPN, NBC
  • Social media is changing the dynamics of Olympic activation

    When it comes to activating around the Olympic Games, social media is “changing the dynamics completely,” said panelists on Day 2 of the Intersport Activation Summit.

    Activating Around the Olympic Games


    Michele Cardinal, Visa
    Peter Carlisle, Octagon
    John Lewicki, McDonald's
    Claudia Navarro, Coca-Cola
    David Palmer, Procter & Gamble

    “Social media is really allowing us to tell stories and start conversations,” said Claudia Navarro, global Olympic marketing director for Coca-Cola. “That’s the biggest shift from Beijing.”

    P&G Global Sports Marketing Director David Palmer said the company’s “Thank You Mom” campaign has been brought to life as moms are “engaging in social media and furthering the conversation.”

    “It’s no longer just the brand talking,” he said. “It’s no longer just the company talking. It’s actual moms of athletes who have a message to tell, who have a story to tell and a message to share.”

    Peter Carlisle, managing director of Octagon’s Olympic and action sports, said social media has allowed the marketing of athletes to become more of a global activation play. 

    “It’s quite a difference when you are receiving for approval marketing materials from Pakistan,” he said. “That’s a development that will present a huge opportunity to these athletes to become global icons and not just icons within their own country.”

    Navarro noted that Coca-Cola is activating in three times more markets for London that it did for the ’08 Beijing Games, and also has a big commitment on the ground at the Games. “We have a very special pavilion that we are building in the Olympic Park,” she said. “It’s a building that actually you can touch, and it makes noise and music and sounds. It’s quite the architectural and engineering feat to get it done in time.”

    Carlisle, who reps Gold Medalist swimmer Michael Phelps, said most deals for athletes are in place, and that he is waiting for the next phase to begin.  “Usually the activation stuff has been approved, it’s out the door and we can shift our attention to what we are going to do post competition and how we’re going to leverage their success after the Games,” he said. 

    The panelists discussed the difference between London as the host city this year and Beijing in 2008. Navarro said, “We had a lot more space in Beijing,” said Navarro. “So when we think about hospitality, the number of rooms, the cost of those rooms, we need to use resources more efficiently.” But she stressed London’s international appeal. McDonald Senior Dir of Alliance Marketing John Lewicki, whose company is building four new restaurants in the area and bringing in a crew of 4,000 to work at the Games, said, “Beijing provided a lot of space and was a unique cultural environment, but it had some challenges from just the distance. The location of London is a great backdrop from a centrally located European city. It is extremely expensive. It’s tight on space. It’s crowded.”

    QUICK HITS:

    Palmer, on the new USOC/IOC revenue sharing deal and what effect a Games in the U.S. would have on marketers: “Being a global company, where the games are isn’t as important as the fact the games are actually happening. We are going to market with the Games regardless of where they are.”

    Visa Head of U.S. General Consumer Marketing Michele Cardinal: “The U.S. is a huge driver of our business globally and so we would certainly welcome games back in the U.S. But equally, when we’re in different markets, it opens opportunities from an acceptance perspective and allows us a chance to build the brand outside the U.S.”

    Palmer, on the legacy of the London Games: “The way the games are going to be consumed is going to be the lasting legacy. It’s going to be the first truly digital games, and the way that the fan will actually consume the activity and what’s going on is going to unparalleled. That is the launching point for the future.”

    Carlisle, on ambush marketing and digital: “When you add to all the activation the social and the digital, you end up with so many more ambush problems, even for the athletes, than in previous games.”


    Tags: Media, Visa, Octagon, McDonalds, Audi, Coca-Cola, Global Sports, TES, Action Sports
  • 1-minute with Allstate's Pam Hollander

    What do non-profits have to know about a company before they pitch a cause-marketing strategy? In this one-minute video, Allstate's Pam Hollander, director of sponsorships, promotions and public relations, talks about the two things she expects to hear.


    Allstate's Pam Hollander on what she expects to hear during any cause-related pitch.

  • 1 minute with A-B's Blaise D'Sylva

    Tags: DC, Media
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