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Jose Cuervo Romanced Kevin Love with Pro Beach Volleyball

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Kevin Love has chosen to “Find His Beach” not with a Corona, but with a shot of Cuervo.  He  partnered with Jose Cuervo to promote  last month’s Manhattan Beach Open.

The Manhattan Beach Open is part of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series (JCPBVS), and is one of the premier events of the So Cal summer.  According to Brian Radics, Jose Cuervo brand director, the decision for Jose Cuervo to become title sponsor of the JCPBVS was based on the fit between the brand and the sport:

“Beach volleyball and Jose Cuervo are both known for intensity and lifestyle appeal, and the opportunity to help the sport return to prominence not only for the players but also for fans was one we’re excited about.”

The Partnership

The partnership between Kevin Love and Jose Cuervo was announced in July at the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series event in Times Square.  There, Kevin Love described to a reporter from Larry Brown Sports how the partnership originated:

“Jose Cuervo came to me and said that they wanted me to be a part of it and I took it and ran with it — I thought it was a home run. It’s a different thing I could use throughout the lockout to keep active and kind of have fun with, so I’m very excited about it.”

It is very interesting that Jose Cuervo would approach an active player – albeit one not under contract – to participate in one of its marquee marketing initiatives of the summer.  Furthermore, we should examine why the marketing of the event was conspicuously devoid of Kevin Love’s likeness.

According to the Distill Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS):

“To help ensure that individuals in beverage alcohol advertising are and appear to be above the legal purchase age, models and actors employed should be a minimum of 25 years old, substantiated by proper identification and should reasonably appear to be 21 years of age and older. (Page 5, Point 7)”

Partnership Restrictions

Kevin Love is only 22 years old.  In order for this partnership to be compliant with the distilled spirits governing body, Kevin Love could not publicly endorse the Jose Cuervo product e.g. “I have always loved Cuervo.  Back at UCLA, me and Westbrook used to got shot for shot on our way to the Final 4. (fictional quote)”  Therefore, when Kevin Love speaks about his partnership with Jose Cuervo it is always in direct relation to the JCPBVS, “I have always been a fan of beach volleyball and when I received the opportunity to play in the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. (actual quote)”  The restriction however detracts from Love’s dynamic social personality which could have dramatically moved the needle on the partnership.

The Possibilities of the Partnership

Love has been part of a clever campaign with Right Guard, a viral video promoting his All-Star game worthiness (the video was created by the T-Wolves and has been removed from the Internet due to the lockout), more than 67,000 Facebook Likes, and more than 97,000 Followers on Twitter.  His greatest asset to brands moving forward is that he is fully fluent in the language of social media.

He entered college as Facebook was becoming ubiquitous and Twitter was gaining mainstream attention.  He has immersed himself in these platforms, and understands how to engage his audience.  Furthermore, he is comfortable in front of a camera.  His appeal to Jose Cuervo is obvious.  However, the limitations of his age prevented the partnership from reaching is true potential.  We could have a mockumentary on his training reigme featuring guest appearances from NBA and Hollywood stars, we could have had a cross country tour with Love promoting his affiliation with Jose Cuervo at summer hotspots across the nation, and we could have seen one of the most interactive social media campaigns of the summer.

Partnering with Kevin Love was a great way for Jose Cuervo to bring national attention to a local event, despite the limitations of his age.  I look forward to seeing how Jose Cuervo promotes the remaining two events of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series.

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To Life, Love and Loot: A Captain’s Orders

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Original content that speaks to the hearts and minds of your consumer.

Captain Morgan’s To Life, Love and Loot campaign is a “witty narrative about a great leader who fearlessly protected his crew and had the ability to gracefully navigate whatever life threw his way.”  Captain Morgan demonstrates an unflinching poise in the face of adversity and a self-assured bravado.  Not coincidentally, these are the qualities which we look for in our quarterbacks, point guards and starting pitchers.

The What

Homepage Takeover of ESPN.com on August 8th.  Elements included:

  • Page Reskin
  • Pushdown Unit (with video player)
  • Fixed Above-The-Fold rectangle

The units clicked through to Captain Morgan’s, YouTube page which featured all three videos in the To Life, Love and Loot campaign.  Captain Morgan’s, YouTube featured a page skin and a fixed 300×250.  The 300×250 linked to Captain Morgan’s, Facebook tab “Rumpedia“.  All of these elements served to increase the user interaction with the brand.

 The Why

The video player in the pushdown unit allowed Captain Morgan to tease its third and final video in the To Life, Love and Loot campaign. The 15 second clip showed the Captain Morgan character upsetting a maternal guest at an elite dinner party.  However, if viewers clicked on the video, they would see that the Captain Morgan character uniting the guests in a rebellion against their stodgy, traditional ways, and creating a spontaneous moment of exhilaration.  The underlying theme of the spot was that the charismatic leader is able to cause change without saying a word.  Again, a quality that we look for in our sports heroes.

We want our sports heroes to perform at a world class level, but more importantly, we want them to lift their teams to the pinnacle of their sport.  That is why Vince Cater is viewed differently than Dirk.  That is why the Captain Morgan character is different than the Most Interesting Man in the World,  and why To Life, Love and Loot is the perfect campaign for Captain Morgan to increase its brand image with sports fans.

The To Life, Love and Loot campaign highlights three different aspects of Captain Morgan’s personality: in Captain Morgan’s ‘Glass’ he’s a leader; in Captain Morgan’s ‘Ride Home’ he’s responsible; and in Captain Morgan’s ‘To Life, Love and Loot’ he’s cool, calm and collected under pressure.  These are all traits that we look for in our favorite athlete, and more importantly traits that we all like to think we personify.

Key Takeaways

To Life, Love and Loot is a campaign for the Captain Morgan brand that aims to reinforce to the viewer that they too can live like Captain Morgan.  Through demonstrations of valor, confidence and charisma, the Captain Morgan character speaks to the brand’s target audience.  The positioning of the campaign fits well on sports outlets.  This audience is looking for the same characteristics personified by Captain Morgan, in their favorite athletes.  To Life, Love and Loot resonates with sports fans and will greatly enhance the brand’s image.

Written by Peter Amador

August 16, 2011 at 11:49 PM

You’re in Good Hands when Behind The Mic with Allstate on SI.com

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Mayhem… something you don’t want on the field or in your personal life, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.  What happens then? Do you have someone you can trust to help you through these tough moments?  This is the crux of Allstate’s “Mayhem” campaign, and a message the brand reinforces through its partnership with SI.com.

Using “Great Quotes” from retired athletes on SI.com’s “Behind The Mic” video channel, Allstate increases its image as an expert in the fields of: Auto, Motorcycle, Home and Life insurance.  The “Behind The Mic” channel is designed to generate leads for local Allstate agents.

The What

  • Dedicated video channel
  • Co-branded header
  • Video Pre-roll (every other video start)
  • Fixed 300×250
  • Voting module for favorite “Quote of the Week”
  • Module linking users to a local Allstate agent
  • Homepage targeted co-branded media: 300×250, 728×90 and 120×90 (see below)

The Why

The concept for “Behind the Mic” is excellent.  Allstate is associating its brand with retired players (see header in Picture 1) that are slightly past their prime, but are respected by viewers- these athletes resonate with their presumed target audience of Males 25-54 who are also slightly past their prime* a concept first pioneered by Miller Lite in the 70s to make drinking Lite Beer manly.

Allstate wants viewers to trust their agents opinions on insurance, the same way the viewers trust the retired players opinions. By associating its brand with these athletes, Allstate enhances its brand’s image as dependable expert.  The enhanced brand image will help drive sales for its local agents.

Allstate has two call-to-action points on the “Behind the Mic” page.  These units connect a user with the closest agent in their area. The first is the fixed 300×250 to the right of the video player which helps users “Find an Agent”, and the second is a module which prompts users to “Get Your Great Quote”.


Viewers are attracted to the call to action points by the pre-roll which runs before every other video.  Allstate uses celebrity endorser Tim Howard (“Always in Good Hands” with one of the best Goalies in the world) and brand spokesman “Mayhem”, to reinforce its expertise in four fields with four different commercials:

  • Mayhem – Motorcycle Insurance (An add directed at men that have undergone a “mid-life” crisis and are now selling their motorcycle, which ties back to associating the Allstate brand with retired players.)
  • Mayhem – Home & Auto Insurance (Directed at handyman/homeowner that causes more harm than good.  We can all relate.)
  • Mayhem – All four of their areas of expertise (A Brady Bunch parody that shows “Mayhem is everywhere“)
  • Tim Howard – Life Insurance (A reminder that we are still in the game, but we have responsibilities as well.  Clever way to tackle what no man wants to contemplate – our mortality).

Key Takeaways

Allstate uses “Great Quotes” from respected, retired athletes to connect with its target audience in a way that reinforces its image with expertise in the fields of: Auto, Motorcycle, Home and Life insurance.   The Allstate pre-roll which runs before every other “Great Quote” is designed to demonstrate Allstate’s breadth of expertise, and helps drive users to the two call-to-action points on the Allstate branded video channel.

Through it partnership with SI.com, Allstate is increasing its brand image and generating leads for local agents.  A strategy which is sure to cause mayhem for its competitors.

Written by Peter Amador

August 5, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Captain Morgan: Major League Loot for You

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Jeter or Morgan… who’s your Captain?

Now I’m a big fan of Jeter, but I have to go with Morgan.  Why?  Because unless your name is Christian Lopez, Derek Jeter has never gave any of his fans the opportunity to win Major League Loot.

The What

Captain Morgan took-over the homepage of MLB.com on July 25th.  Captain Morgan’s homepage takeover included the following assets:

  • Page Reskin
  • Pencil Unit
  • Fixed 300×250

The Pencil Unit and the 300×250 clicked through to Captain Morgan’s weekly feature on MLB.com “Toasts of the Week” which gives fans the opportunity to “Enter Now to Live Like The Captain“.

“Toasts of the Week” is a feature which highlights individual performances that must be honored.  However, the feature is secondary to the sweepstakes, (evidence by the video player’s placement in the bottom half of the page) which asks the user to “Toast Your Club for a Chance to Win a VIP Baseball Experience”.

The Why

The action of having the user toast their favorite club accomplishes two important goals for Captain Morgan:

  1. It associates the brand with good times and great performances
  2. The users conceptualizes Captain Morgan with rewards (the beautiful blonde at the bar or tickets to watch your favorite team, it doesn’t matter, The Captain is always there for you)

Once the user interest chooses to enter the Major League Loot sweepstakes, the Captain engages the fan with a sleek and attractive sweepstakes page.

Captain Morgan uses its sweepstakes page to successfully integrate its league sponsorship with local partnerships.  The use of team’s marks enables the brand to drive its message directly to its targeted consumer, rather than abstractly through the use of a league’s mark. League marks provide scale but does not generate the visceral emotion of a team’s logo.

Furthermore, I appreciate that the Captain asks you to keep your toast to less than 50 words.  This prevents users from questioning whether they can craft a toast that poetic enough to warrant the Captain’s Loot, and decreases dropoff after entry.

Once a user has completed the sweepstakes entry, Captain Morgan thanks them for entering the Major League Loot contest and prompts them “To Join The Captain for a Toast on Facebook”.

The brand is able to extend the conversation with its target consumer by driving contest participants to it Facebook page, turning a one-off sweepstakes promotion to an effective CRM tool.

Key Takeaways

Captain Morgan used its homepage takeover on MLB.com to increase awareness for its “Major League Loot” sweepstakes.  The creative on the homepage drove awareness for the sweepstakes, while the fixed units clicked through to the sweepstakes page.  The sweepstakes enhanced the brand’s association with great memories and rewards.  Furthermore, the brand drives its messaging home by using team marks to create a personal connection with its target consumer.

Here’s to toasting great brands and great friends, sports wouldn’t be the same without them.

Written by Peter Amador

July 26, 2011 at 1:16 AM

Sponsored Facebook Posts: Good or Bad Idea?

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Is there a reason not to have sponsored posts on your Fan Page? Is Facebook the holy sanctum of fandom that cannot be commercialized by sports properties?  Of course not.

A recent report from ComScore estimates that Facebook accounts for 23% of all ad impressions on the Internet. This statistic underscores the reality that users are not impervious, nor opposed, to advertising on Facebook.  The bombardment of advertising which users are exposed to on the platform necessitates that properties incorporate their partners in original content which enhances the user’s experience.

I argued this point in a recent meeting, but was unable to convince a majority of my colleagues to agree with me.  They wanted to see proof that is was a viable option, so I offered to look at the Fan Pages of some of the leading properties on Facebook.  Their pages were to serve as our moral compass.

I visited fanpagelist.com on February 16th and selected 10 of the top 20 sports properties on Facebook.  I proceeded to categorize all of their post from Feb. 1-16 into five categories: promotional, videos, photos, sponsored content and social outreach.  In all, 695 posts were reviewed.  The results can be seen in the table below.

A few quick notes regarding the table:

  • The Promotional category served as a catchall for posts which contained  links to articles (even if the post included a picture), poll questions, ticket/apparel discounts, or asked for user feedback
  • The Boston Celtics did a great job of driving traffic back to their “Keys to the Game presented by Ford” section with a video link
  • The best integration of a sponsor into a post was the Los Angeles Lakers’ Injury Report presented by the UCLA Medical Center
  • Post which included open-ended questions were the most commented and liked posts [ex from Man U’s page: Was Wayne Rooney’s goal against City last Saturday “the best goal ever scored at Old Trafford”? Check it out again and tell us what you think. We’d love to hear your thoughts! (47,382 Likes and 9,670 Comments) – yes, the goal and topic are extreme motivating factors, but the post itself is a great example of how to generate user involvement]
  • If you are a property – share as many videos as you can produce, and as many fan submitted photos as possible; we like to see out teams dominating/having fun, and we love to see ourselves embracing our fandom
  • If you work for the Cowboys or Yankees – please get someone to turn off the RSS feed; unquestionably, the two most boring pages in the history of Facebook.

My research revealed that less than 1% of posts from these properties were branded with a sponsor’s image; however, this should not preclude future sponsor integration.

Facebook is a community. Facebook is an entertainment channel. Facebook connects fans with their teams.  Properties should use these statements as guidelines for the integration of sponsors into their posts.  The guidelines will drive properties to connect partners with their fans in a meaningful way that improves their fans experience on the Internet.  In doing so, they will be uplifting the partner’s brand image.

The cost of a sponsored post? How good is your account executive?

Written by Peter Amador

February 27, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Retail Partners: The Ace in Your Sponsorship Portfolio

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Take less money from retailers to increase your sponsorship revenue.

An argument I contrived out of a conversation with a colleague two weeks ago.  We were speculating on how the Facebook Deals announcement could improve the activation practices of our partners.  I postulated that a retail partner (Partner A) could reward shoppers/fans that checked in with a $15 coupon off the purchase of Partner B’s product.   This practice would serve to increase traffic to Partner B’s isle, which I envisioned being complete with an in-store display highlighting Partner A and B’s sponsorship of our property.  The in-store activation would serve to help Partner A and B monetize their sponsorship investment, and strengthen Partner A and B’s brand image with our fan base and Partner A’s shoppers.   The logistical concerns of working with these partners caused us to question the feasibility of the promotion; however, this will be the future of retail activation for sponsors.  Sports Authority’s, Black Friday promotion demonstrated that we are approaching that moment. 

Shoppers that checked in at a Sports Authority on Black Friday were entered to win one of 20, $500 gift certificates to be distributed nationwide.  My mind immediately jumped to a joint promotion between Sports Authority and adidas.  The possibility of incorporating adidas MLS / Mexican National Team gear into the store’s promotion had me nearing delirium (Sports Authority is not one of our partners).    

It was through these ideas that I came to realize the necessity of having retailers as strategic partners.  Retailers that are invested and value their sponsorship, are more likely to provide a property’s partners with the right to conduct in-store promotions and secure prefered isle space; these relationships can and should be leverage by properties to provide prospective sponsors with action items to consider during the recruitment process. 

A requirement has been placed on properties to demonstrate that they can advance the business objectives of prospective partners.  Providing prospects the opportunity to conduct experiential sweepstakes, ticket discounts and offer coupons to fans/shoppers at retail demonstrates a desire to help partners monetize their sponsorship investment.  Furthermore, the ability to design an unquestionable ROI evaluation practice with retailers, is a undeniable benefit for potential sponsors.  

A property that can deliver prefered retail space to prospective partners, transforms their selling points from points of conjecture (impressions, on-site activation and fan avidity) to quantifiable and desired results of retail-activation.  In a post-Great Recession Era, what is quantifiable is valuable.

The capacity to evaluate the number of sales generated at a retail location during a specified time period – attributable to the partner’s sponsorship investment – will enable a property to develop a compelling renewal argument; especially, when traditional benefits such as impressions and on-site activation are included.  

Securing retailers as strategic partners enable properties to offer partners a forum to translate their enhanced brand image into sales.  Furthermore, retailers allow the property and its partners to extend their engagement with fans beyond the traditional in-venue, living room and bar experience.  The more meaningful the benefits delivered to the shopper/fan, the more equity the partners will derive from their partnership.  The greater the equity, the more valuable the sponsorship is for all parties involved – especially the property.

Written by Peter Amador

November 28, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Sponsor Highlights from the 2010 Mexican National Team US Tour

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I produced this video for the 2010 Federacion Mexicana de Futbol Sponsor Summit.  It highlights the ways in which our sponsors leveraged the FMF’s marks, used their on-site activation rights and access to player endorsements throughout the Mexican National Team’s (MNT) 2010 US Tour. 

A couple of highlights from the video:

  •  Andres Guardado answers questions from fans on Facebook as part of Degree Men’s  “Siempre Enfrenta El Reto” campaign (shout out to the GroupM team)
  • Israel Castro is interviewed as part of AT&T’s “Mision Sudafrica” online video series (shout out to The Marketing Arm and the AT&T team)
  • “The Matador” Luis Hernandez participates in a community build project for The Home Depot (props to the Octagon team in Atlanta)
  • The “Futbol Fiesta” section… the name says enough

Our partners did a great job of using the Mexican National Team to drive their business interest in 2010.  In 2011, it will be all about extending the length of conversation with the consumer.  The CONCACAF Gold Cup and compelling matchups for the MNT’s 2011 US Tour (???) will ensure there is sufficient interest in the team in a non World Cup year. 

To expand their sponsorship beyond several one-off events, sponsors should look do the following:

  • establish a strong presence on Univision during its MNT broadcasts and shoulder programming 
  • create compelling original content to be shared on social networks focusing on the MNT
  • work with local distributors to establish a strong presence at retail in the weeks and months leading up to the matches (player appearances and sweepstakes)

I hope you enjoy the video, and would love to hear your feedback.

Special thanks Ixzchel Salgado whose keen eye was extremely valuable in the making of this video, and Carlos Rodriguez, the magician who edited this video.

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