Friday, March 30, 2007

Mmm... sandwich - and a Buzz Cola

You won’t have to go to Springfield to visit a Kwik-E-Mart in the coming months. Select 7-Eleven stores will be transformed into Homer Simpson’s favorite shopping spot to promote the new Simpsons movie. The front of 11 stores will be transformed to look like the fictional store manned by Apu. No word if they’ll use the name “Stop O Mart” in Ohio.

The movie hits theaters July 27, so be on the lookout for KrustyO's cereal, Buzz Cola and iced Squishees at a local 7-Eleven/Kwik-E-Mart near you in the meantime.

I like this idea a lot better than the R2-D2 as a mailbox promotion. Both parties will benefit from this partnership. 7-Eleven will get some new visitors to its stores and The Simpsons Movie gets some good buzz before its release.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

At least they didn't pick Chewbacca

I saw on TV recently that the U.S. Postal Service had partnered with Lucasfilm to transform the standard blue mailbox into an R2-D2 look-alike. At first glance it seemed kind of clever. But as I gave it more thought, it seemed like an odd marriage to me. To learn why this unholy union took place, I discovered the USPS is helping celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars. So there’s some benefit to George Lucas in this agreement, but what about the Post Office? Mack, over at the Viral Garden, has made some good points about this promotion, but I guess I don’t see much of a benefit for our friends in blue who deliver snail mail.

Yes, there’s a lot of buzz about these boxes (this post included). And I can see Mack’s argument that this gives the USPS a bit of personality. But these boxes don’t create a reason for me to go buy stamps. Seeing R2-D2 outside my post office isn’t going to send me rushing inside to buy some postage. Now I will admit that a lot of Star Wars junkies probably will buy stamps they wouldn’t have otherwise because they collect anything and everything Force-related. But is the buzz factor enough to warrant the costs associated with activating this promotion for the USPS? You tell me. I just don’t see there being much additional demand for stamps just because we can feed our letters into an R2-D2 mailbox.

In the meantime, I hope the Force is with my mailman. Given the pollen outside, he needs some sort of protection.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sports: Taking the interaction off the field with fans

There’s an interesting discussion taking place over on Sports Marketing 2.0. Pat Coyle has highlighted the problems the industry is facing. At the top of the list of problems facing marketers (those in sports and in general), is the challenge to find consumers in today's media marketplace. Given the title of this blog, that’s a topic that is of great personal interest.

The posting then moves on to discuss three trends that will emerge in sports marketing over the next five years. Pat’s last two points caught my eye and are points I hope to incorporate into my next career move, specifically making a consumer/fan’s experience with the product a two-way interaction.

The MyCokeFest coming up in Atlanta plays to the point of using a brand to enhance a fan’s experience at an event. But I really like Mission: SEC. It has new media elements, like the blogs and videos and works from a fan and a marketer’s perspective: pertinent information is delivered to an interested audience thanks to relevant sponsors that nicely tie their brand to the content.

I foresee more such marketing tactics to address the problem at the top of Pat’s list.

Here are the comments from Pat’s visitors. Feel free to leave your own below.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Crashed Ice: A Sport With One Message

After reading about Red Bull’s creation of a brand new sport through which to market the energy drink in last weekend’s New York Times, I have to say… this is pretty interesting. Why be one of many advertisers in an arena or add your brand name to a single event? Red Bull has sidestepped the clutter in the traditional sports marketplace by creating an entirely new competition and owning the concept. The sport has drawn a large amount of attention, with 35,000 people watching a recent outdoor event in Quebec and 14 events being held throughout the U.S. The risk is a sports landscape littered with invented, branded competitions. But no one’s confusing this with ESPN’s X Games. And that problem is a long time coming, I think.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Finding Meebo

At the bottom of the right rail I’ve added a Meebo widget for anyone who stops by to IM me while they’re visiting my blog. I’m trying this as an experiment to see how it works and if anyone will send me a message. Messages can be sent to me whether I’m logged-in to Meebo or not. I'll receive your message either way and would love to hear from visitors. If you're so inclined, there's a way to change the standard-issue/nondescript nickname to something more revealing by clicking on the "edit nickname" text. Don’t be a stranger!