Internet-banking giant ING and their sponsorship of perhaps one of the largest sporting events took a big blow in 2012.
“Superstorm Sandy” landed on the upper east coast starting on October 22 through October 31st, 2012. Hurricane Sandy would become the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history. The ING New York City Marathon, which was scheduled to take place on November 4, went through a painful decision-making process that resulted in the full cancellation of the marathon only two days before the event.
With the cancellation, ING and the New York Road Runners club faced a hailstorm of criticism. Runners were upset the marathon was cancelled. Runners were upset the marathon was not cancelled sooner. Participants took to blogs and social sites to express their feelings. Race organizers faced a daunting PR challenge, but one not completely unique to events of this nature. What to do with all the race swag?
From t-shirts and clappers to the actual finishers medal, race organizers faced a difficult problem. In an effort to create goodwill among racers who couldn’t race and wanting to encourage people to sign-up for next year’s race they made an unprecedented decision. They would take every opportunity to get the gear to the 2012 registrants. When race entrants showed up to the 2013 expo to get their race bibs and promotional items, the 2012 registrants were directed to a location within the Javitz Center to receive the 2012 race shirt and their 2012 finisher’s medal.
Image by Robert Reese
The icing on the PR cake for ING and the NYRR came in the form of a poncho. In light of the events in Boston last year, race entrants were strongly discouraged from checking a bag at the race start for security reasons. Following the completion of the race, if a runner had not checked a bag they were directed to a special area of the race route. Upon exiting the official race area, runners were given a customized fleece-lined poncho.
The ING Marathon is not the first event to face a swag problem. Each year teams produce promotional items to acknowledge a sporting event that hasn’t happened yet. In the event that your team is playing in the big game, chances are the celebratory shirts and hats have already been printed. When the team loses, what to do with the promotional or marketing materials? Because of licensing agreements, most items are donated overseas.
The ING NYC Marathon organizers were able to heal some old wounds by giving 2012 runners their gear and medals. And, they were able to build good will with the 2013 by rewarding them for choosing the less convenient bag option. In this case, the ponchos went a long way towards swag redemption.
Some people set personal goals for themselves like graduating from medical school, running a marathon, or learning to cook. From a young age, one of my personal goals (among other, more meaningful aspirations!) has been to appear on the Jumbotron at a professional sporting event or concert. I don’t mind whether I am spotlighted on the Kiss Cam or singing along to the 7th inning rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in logo apparel at the baseball game; I would just love to see my face on the screen for a few seconds.
In an article from the New York Times, health columnist Joe Brescia, explained how professional athletes are incorporating mixed martial arts into their work out regimens as a way to increase their mental and physical performance. However “new-age” this training routine may seem, the art of mixed martial arts is hardly “new-age;” in fact this cultural practice even dates back to ancient Greece.
During this era, Olympians would train using a similar combat sport called, “pankration.” Through out history various cultures’ combat sports melded together until the earliest form of modern mixed martial arts, “merikan,” was formed during the early 1900’s. “Merikan” incorporates both European and Japanese styles of fighting.
Fast forward to today, professional baseball players and football players claim that training with mixed martial arts is creating a competitive edge over their colleagues. So much so, athletes like Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox, Brad Penny of the Detroit Tigers, Russell Martin of the Yankees, and the entire Atlanta Falcons’ team are keeping their routines under wraps as if they were part of their playbooks.
So how does it work? The MMA (mixed martial arts) trainers put together sequences that mimic how athletes play. For example, in order to throw a pitch, a pitcher’s movement involves lifting the knee, throwing the arm forward, and swinging the opposite back leg. In order to strengthen the muscles that control these movements, the trainer mirrors a pitcher’s sequence by having them raise the knee, forward punch, and end with a back kick.
One could argue promotional fitness accessories, like tracking monitors and punching bags could encourage any individual to improve their overall performance; but these teams and players are “drinking the kool-aid.” With this “new” training routine in place, some players even claim it’s improving their mental game, too.
You know its spring time when the azaleas begin to bloom and those four golfing days in Augusta we call the Masters are only days away.
If you are one of the few and fortunate who have tickets to this year’s tournament, stylishly protect yourself from the elements and follow your favorite players with the following essential, seasonal products.
To keep cool and protect your skin from the sun, consider the Nike Tech Basic Dri-FIT UV Sport Shirt. The “dri-FIT” technology wicks perspiration away from the body keeping you comfortable. And, if you are sensitive to the sun or just want to have that added protection, the shirt has 30-UPF protection built right into its’ fibers.
For the die-hard observer, keep track of the player’s stats with a custom golf pencil with eraser. If your business or family happens to be a patron, consider distributing your badges with one of these handy golf pencils, available in three colors.
Some other great essential seasonal products include the lightweight personalized lunch bag. This bag is well insulated so it can keep all your perishables cold. Similarly, the PEVA lining prevents spills from leaking. Another great feature is the drawstring strap, which allows you to keep your hands-free!
In case you missed it, yesterday marked the official beginning of the Major League Baseball season. The Atlanta Braves were on the road playing the Washington Nationals, but that didn’t stop Atlanta fans from cheering on their home team with promotional spirit accessories ranging from apparel to foam fingers. And all that cheering paid off: the Braves opened their season with a win!
In addition to helping loyal fans show support, promotional spirit accessories are a great way for marketers to reach their target audience. Baseball fans are not only a captive group, but these days, attendees almost expect to get a branded giveaway when they enter the stadium. This year, Pittsburgh Pirates fans can look forward to t-shirts presented by Waste Management, while Indians fans in attendance on July 24 will receive branded skateboards as a potential promotion for the X-games. Ever yearned for a Snuggie to call your own? Don’t miss the Dodgers game this Sunday.
You might be ready for March Madness, but is your office?
Across the country, many workplaces are already abuzz with gossip about first round games, which began yesterday. Moreover, sources estimate that the United State economy will loose $1.8 billion to wasted productivity throughout the course of this week alone. Rather than working on projects as they should, employees in all industries will spend a portion of their time filling out brackets, vying for a spot in front of an office TV (or streaming highlights of a game online), and chatting with their co-workers about game results and bracket scores.
The upside is that all of this March Madness frenzy leads to increased employee morale, in part because the game day discussions serve as a unifying force. While the NCAA tournament is certainly fun, organizations across the country can distribute promotional giveaways to unite their employees without decreasing productivity. Consider giving wearable promotional giveaways that employees can use to show support for their favorite team – and your company.
Welcome to this week’s edition of “Trending Topic Tuesday,” where we share our take on what’s going on in the world and what promotional products would appropriately (or inappropriately) market the subject matter.
With all the buzz about Sunday night’s Super Bowl, let’s not overlook the latest professional basketball news. The Cleveland Cavaliers are on the verge of setting a new record… and it isn’t one that they should necessarily brag about. Last night marked the team’s 25th straight loss, breaking the record for most consecutive losses by an NBA team. The losing streak also puts them one loss away from tying the current all-time low for any major sports franchise in history; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold that title, with 26 straight losses in their inaugural 1976-77 season.
photo credit: DrivingtheNortheast
Super Bowl XLV is just around the corner, which means that football fans across the country are sending out invitations, tidying up the living room, planning menus full of munchies (and, if you’re in Georgia, buying beer ahead of time) for Super Bowl parties. I, for one, have gotten out my favorite promotional food & drink products that will make hosting the party and serving my guests easier.
My menu is extensive: from pizza to pigs in a blanket to s’mores for a fourth-quarter dessert, I’m sure that no one will go home hungry. Luckily, it won’t be difficult to pull off with the help of my favorite promotional food & drink products, like my football-shaped cutting board, custom s’mores kit, and brightly-colored promotional pizza cutter (which looks as good as it slices).
Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted an early spring this morning, but that doesn’t mean the cold weather is behind us. We’ve still got a few weeks of chilly temperatures to go, so there’s no need to pack your beach bags full of swimsuits and koozies just yet.
The bright side of this (and the side Phil was facing when he came out of his hole) is that you don’t even needkoozies to ensure that your brew will stay nice and frosty; Mother Nature will be doing it for you. All you have to do is keep your warm hands off of your cold can, and there’s no better way to do that than with the Can Grip.
The concept behind the Can Grip is one of those simple-yet-brilliant ones that we wish we’d come up with first, but it makes us so happy that we’re just glad someone invented it. The product adds a whole new dimension to your friends telling you to “get a handle on yourself” when you’ve had one too many celebratory drinks at the post-game party; it makes it easy to hold your drink without warming it up when you’re wearing gloves outside; it’s got a built-in coaster on the bottom to keep a can steady on any surface, from the tailgate to the sidewalk…the perks of this magnificent product are endless.
I’ve never really been that big into football. Yes, I watch the Super Bowl each year. I do have a small stash of promotional spirit accessories. And sure I’ll go to a game now and again. But I’ve never really had that desire to, say, paint my face in blue or red and tailgate mercilessly before each and every home game.
Well that all changed yesterday. At 7:30 on Thursday, Georgia State University (my Alma Mater) played the first game of their inaugural football season – and won big time.