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Volume 24 No. 115
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Sports Marketing Symposium: Marketers Discuss The Pros And Cons Of Risky Strategies

How do you convince big companies to adopt risky marketing strategies? You need got to convince them of the payoff. Speaking during the "Marketing Mavericks: Driving Innovation" session at the IMG Sports Marketing Symposium ’12, JoNa Ventures Managing Dir John Bello said, “Most big corporations would rather miss opportunities than make mistakes.” Bello, pointing to SoBe’s use of golfer John Daly as proof, said that “risks can pay off.” Bello: “He was the antithesis of something healthy. He said he’d [partnered] because he liked the products because they went well with vodka. That got Pepsi crazy, but it was in every newspaper.” DDCD & Partners Chair Mark Dowley pointed to Nike as a company willing to take a risk and “embrace the weird” by adopting neon green and yellow colors for many of its products. He said, “Make [the color] pervasive in 140 countries, and then sell in those countries. That kind of thinking wins the game.” Reebok Senior VP/Sports & Entertainment Marketing Tom Shine discussed the effects of his company losing its NFL deal to Nike. Shine said, “It was a difficult pill to swallow, but the number that was out there didn’t make economic sense.” However, he said the “old model of marketing around licensing deals is over.” Shine: “The model of being a guarantor and royalty collector is gone. There are no more companies that are willing to take on this financial pounding in the future.”


-- Altis Marketing Chair & CEO Frank Craighill, on late adidas Chair Horst Dassler: “He guaranteed 65 million Swiss Francs to FIFA and another 30 million to UEFA in 1982 to put together the World Cup program. I thought he was crazy to have guaranteed 95 million Francs. But he had a phenomenal sense of where the market was going.”

-- Dowley, on creating a culture of creativity at large corporations: “You employ those creative destructors and people in acquisition, so you don’t break up the culture that you want. You’re placing lots of bets in lots of places so you’re always coming out on top.”

-- Bello, on whether the NFL’s referee lockout hurt the brand: “They are succeeding in spite of themselves. I don’t even know why they advertise, because I don’t think they can do anything wrong.”