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Volume 21 No. 2
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Cisco brings it home

Fans rarely interact with professional athletes in a one-on-one setting. Cisco Systems’ Umi experiential campaign, which appeared at the NHL and NBA All-Star Games, allowed fans to have one-on-one conversations with all-stars such as Toronto Maple Leafs center Phil Kessel and former NBA players Robert Horry and A.C. Green using Umi Telepresence video technology.


Brand: Cisco Umi Telepresence

Properties: NBA, NHL

Agency: The Marketing Arm

The goal: Promote the company’s Telepresence product to mainstream consumers, specifically families.

Why it worked: “We brought Telepresence into the living room of consumers and helped people understand the environment and the context of where they could use this technology.” — Mike Kisch, director of Telepresence marketing at Cisco Systems

Cisco housed the interactive experience in a large RV where fans could enter a room, turn on the Umi unit and speak with an athlete who was at the team hotel.

“Being able to talk to [an athlete] creates that unique experience which inspires fans to tell their friends,” said Mike Kisch, Cisco’s director of Telepresence marketing. “It’s a powerful experience.”

Cisco’s Telepresence video-conferencing technology can be found in corporate boardrooms across the country. However, Umi is aimed at the general consumer, specifically families. The system connects to a home’s HDTV to allow friends and families to connect and see each other as they chat.

Said Kisch: “We want to bring Telepresence into the living room.”

The Marketing Arm provided staffing for the Umi exhibit, and Cisco developed the RV in-house. In addition to the opportunity to talk with the athletes through the video link, fans could talk with each other over the device, as the exhibit featured a Telepresence screen on the outside of the RV as well.

Cisco rolled out its experiential campaign in October, and it first traveled to malls across the country, where the RV put on 250,000 demonstrations in three months.

The technology maker targeted the fan expos at both the NBA and NHL all-star games due to the family-friendly atmosphere at both events.

— Fred Dreier