Summertime means big events and for sponsors it’s the time to make some big money investments. Massive crowds are heading to large venues for festivals, concerts and sporting events. Austin is definitely on the map for hosting some of the best events in the nation, if not the world. This past weekend was a big one with Austin’s inaugural hosting of the X Games, the best extreme sports athletes competing for metals and ultimately some big sponsorship opportunities.
I had the chance to attend Sunday’s events. Lucky me I got in without a pass, having a friend with a participating athlete’s badge. (Yes, this is how I roll). Yet I still doled out upwards of $60, with a bottle of purified water costing five dollars. As someone obsessed with optimized marketing strategies you cannot attend any event without thinking in terms of figures. I ventured to guess how much some of these sponsorships cost and how long the immediate return on their investment took to make. Also, what can they expect in the long-term? The figures are likely insane, but you’ve got to “spend money to make it” and these brands definitely did both.
An executive representing the event (ESPN is responsible for founding the X Games in 1995) noted on-stage before the Flaming Lips took over with confetti, giant blow-up characters and crazy lights that over 160,000 people attended. Considering my friend and I were off the radar and I knew quite a few people that mysteriously made their way in, I wondered just exactly how many spectators attended. Add to that home viewers who watched on ESPN and a local Austin network, there was an insane opportunity to gain exposure.
The athletes are already laden with logos and standing on the podium with their “preferred” energy drink. You might see ten different brands on one person and their gear. Besides brands notable for producing equipment and clothing specified to the sport of the “billboard,” I mean…athlete, there were some other interesting advertisers.
I came across dozens of brands while I watched “I can’t believe these people don’t die” athletes. I discovered the most memorable of the sponsors while watching X Games coverage at home. The sponsor I speak of is Fram. I knew nothing of this brand and having to call a friend to change my tire, I really don’t have much knowledge of suppliers of oil and oil filters. Their hilarious commercials, viewable at: http://fram.com/aboutus/videos/pajamas/ were most memorable. Of course as a main sponsor their commercials were in heavy rotation, but with the type of humor (I’m talking a cage fighter showing up to a match wearing pink oven mitts), they were welcomed with each commercial break. Subsequently, I discovered the company’s commercials were aired on the big screen’s at the competition venue, and even amongst all the madness I (with thousands of others) stopped to watch and have a chuckle.
The moral of this whole tale is that it takes a lot to stand out amongst a sea of sponsors at large-scale events. This is where creative marketing comes into play. Getting to know your demographic is what a good marketing team does and they figure out how not only tell a story, but one that leaves a lasting impression. I love when a company is not afraid to step outside the box and humor (literally) their audience. This “out there” tactic has made FRAM my choice for oil filters. Did I ever think I would have “my brand” when it comes to such products? Nope. Am I really their target audience? I’m guessing not as I don’t know how to change my oil. Do I and will I continue to remember their brand? Yes.
– Leigh Kosloski