Can Take a Page the Sports Playbook
BY DOUG MCPHERSON
It’s getting downright kooky. Call it the wide (and wacky) world of sports. Imagine what some athletes and teams will do to attract an audience. You might remember last year’s Olympic runner Nick Symmonds — the guy who auctioned space on his left shoulder (yes, his shoulder) where the Twitter handle of
highest bidder would be tattooed for all to see during the games in London and for the rest
of his track and field appearances in 2012.
Then, this past summer, the University of Central
Florida Knights (UCF) football team got a little creative with some paint: the school painted the athletic
department’s Twitter handle right on their home-field
turf in to recruit more fan-followers. There it was —
@UCF_Athletics — in big, bold lettering right on the
But is it really kooky if these stunts really work? It’s
tough to argue the results.
Symmonds took home $11,100 for his shoulder
space. Hanson Dodge Creative, an ad agency in Milwaukee, coughed up the cash. Since then, the agency
has named him to its active-lifestyle advisory board,
plus it has given Symmonds hundreds of thousands of
dollars in services — free of charge. What’s more, the
attention the sponsorship has brought the agency has
far exceeded its investment, Symmonds told the New
York Times (yes, some nice free publicity, too).
“You’re never going to find a better CPM,” he said
at the time.
And the UCF Knights now have hundreds more
followers, too. UCF’s associate director of athletic com-
munications, Brian Ormiston, supported the move and
says, “The bottom line is it worked. We have more fol-
lowers and it was a lot of fun.”
The fact is that DR marketers can learn a lot from
sports marketing. It’s not always about crazy publicity
stunts and shoot-from-the-hip exploits. Actually, to
Jon Last, it can just as easily be about carefully planned