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.
From the stadium to the streets, the New York Yankees certainly know how to get fans’ attention. They’ve won more World Series championships than any other team in Major League Baseball, they completed the 2009 regular season with the best overall record, and even non-baseball fans can’t avoid hearing about Alex Rodriguez’s love life (Madonna! Kate Hudson!) Earlier this month, the team increased media frenzy by unveiling a line of logo apparel at Yankee Stadium. Learn more about Yankees merchandise
Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd. It is just getting full swing into baseball season and what could go better with your pretzel and beer than a promotional products giveaway at the field. I am planning to attend this Sunday’s game of the Atlanta Braves against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both teams are having a pretty bad season so far, but our Braves are coming off of a three game winning streak, so perhaps they can ride the momentum through this series to regain some confidence. It is always more fun when your team wins, but I enjoy myself win or lose. I tend to get more excited about catching a home run ball or getting the promotional products swag they give out to fans before the games. I even have a miniature promotional baseball bat, that is probably one of the best promotional product giveaways I have ever gotten at a baseball game.
Mistakes happen. We all make them. I’ve even been known to flub now and again.
In my opinion, the best thing to do when the inevitable mistake happens is to learn from it. Don’t let it get you down. Take the constructive criticism with pride and roll with the punches.
So for the San Francisco Giants, the first lesson learned this baseball season is a big one: inspect your promotional apparel before hitting the streets for an away game. When Giants team member Eugenio Velez took the field Wednesday night in Houston, he was completely unaware that two letters on his jersey had been transposed, leaving “San Francisco” to read “San Francicso.” Oops.
With the preliminary round of the 2010 NCAA Championships only two days away, school allegiances and rivalries are at an all-time high. Will the Jayhawks stay at number one in the Midwest? Will they square off against Duke in the semi-finals? I sure hope so. Both teams, who enter the tournament holding the top spots in their conferences, proudly hold three championship titles. But that is nothing compared to the University of Kentucky Wildcats, a team with a very respectable seven wins under their belt.
I’ll be watching to see if the Wildcats come out on top again this year but even if you aren’t a basketball fan or your team just didn’t make it this year (Ohio State’s 69-68 victory last week over Michigan in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Big Ten Conference Tournament was heartbreaking to many in the Midwest), there are plenty of other reasons to tune into the NCAA basketball tournament. The tournament- more commonly referred to as the Final Four or March Madness- isn’t just about basketball.
The Olympics ended Sunday, but for avid speed skating fans a few questions still remain to be answered. For one, why did Apolo Anton Ohno keep yawning before races? Was the most decorated American Winter Olympian in history tired? Bored?
No. After watching a post-race interview with Ohno, I can confidently say the American short track speed skater was neither tired nor bored. The yawns relax his facial muscles and help him prepare for competition, Ohno explained. Also helping him prepare for his outstanding performances were his music, headphones and signature bandanas, which he wore fervently for each event. As most sports fanatics know, Ohno is certainly not alone in his pre-game rituals. The question remains as to whether or not these superstitions actually influence an athlete’s performance.
“It’s very helpful for players to have consistent rituals, both for pregame preparation and during competition,” said Mary Fry, an associate professor at University of Kansas, Lawrence in the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences. “Rituals help athletes maximize their performance under pressure. Without rituals many athletes have a tendency to speed up or slow down their regular play, making them more susceptible to making errors.”*
As Fry explains, rituals help athletes to get into their zone. And this theory doesn’t just apply to Olympic-level or professional athletes. Despite my lack of coordination, I have been playing in an adult dodgeball league for the past two months. Every Saturday at 1 o’clock, my teammates and I faithfully arrive at the local gym, ready to dodge, duck, dip, dive and…. Dodge. This weekend, we took third place in the championships and I think our success was due in part to the logo apparel we wore routinely for every game. Our pink shirts, imprinted with the league name and company sponsors, helped the team look unified, feel more confident and thus perform better.
We might not be ready for the Olympics, but we’ll take logo apparel and a bronze medal any day!
For some strange reason, back during the summer Olympics hosted in Atlanta in 1996, an extraordinary collecting frenzy broke out, and people everywhere were buying promotional lapel pins like they were going out of style – not that they were ever actually in style. I too fell victim to this craze and now have a drawer full of Olympic pins that I am crossing my fingers will one day be worth more money than I paid for them. An estimated 63 million pins were sold in Atlanta during its games – yes, 63 million – an insane number that even prompted the running joke that pin collecting should be included as a 29th event.
My Daddy is about to be really impressed because this is the second blog posting of mine whose topic stems from his favorite game of football (See previous post from last year: Football, Promotional Products, and the Stories They Tell). And even if I may never fully enjoy watching a game on television at least I can appreciate its contribution to the world of marketing – and my job. But I digress…
So last night the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts to become the 44th Super Bowl champions. But enough about the actual game (maybe Daddy won’t be so impressed after all). Though more than 90 million viewers watch the game annually, recent reports say that half of these viewers may be tuning in to watch the ads during the commercial breaks rather than the Bowl itself. In fact, a survey of more than 25,000 households by the Nielsen Company – a major marketing and media information company that produces the Nielsen ratings, the main source of audience measurement information in the television industry worldwide – showed that 51% of those surveyed said they enjoy the commercials aired throughout the game, more than the game.
The Super Bowl has become known almost as much for its high-profile advertisements as for the sport competition. The high number of viewers promised has led to high price tags – this year, the cost for 30-seconds of air time averages to $3.01 million – and the high price tag has led to ads that are generally innovative, humorous, and in some way highly memorable as the purchasers try to get the most out of the expensive cost for that brief air time.
Here is a secret for all the companies out there that cannot quite afford the $3+ million dollar price tag for a Super Bowl commercial: the average cost per impression (CPI) for promotional products, that is the cost of an item based on the number of times it is used per month and the average number of people with whom the user comes in contact, is cheaper than the cost per impression of a 30-second Super Bowl ad. $3.01 million divided by 90 million viewers equals $0.033. The CPI for a promotional product – $0.004 (as determined by the Advertising Specialties Impressions Study published in November 2008).
I am in no way, however, trying to discourage companies from paying the extreme price tags for Super Bowl ads if they can afford it, because they certainly do provide my entertainment throughout the game. Here was one of my favorites from last night:
Its no secret that college football players often get special treatment. Many colleges treat their star players like royalty, allowing them to miss class occasionally (some schools are more lenient about this policy than others!) to prep for upcoming games, and even the opportunity to register before their peers for next semester’s classes. Fans clamor to get their autographs, take pictures with them, and just shake their hands. Yes, their athletic abilities are admirable, but is this extent of recognition truly warranted?
In my humble opinion, absolutely. These young men have worked hard to reach their goals, many times battling to overcome injuries, balancing their studies and football commitments, and dedicating countless hours, days, and months to learning plays and honing their athletic prowess. Their payment comes in the form of scholarship money and respect from their fans, but unlike professional athletes, there is no true monetary compensation for college athletes’ hard work. They do not get summer or winter holidays off like most college students, and rigorous practice schedules force them to spend much of their time away from their friends and families.
For college football teams that extend their seasons because of coveted invitations to bowl games, there are some additional perks involved. I just learned that the NCAA allows college bowls to give each player up to $500 worth of gifts at the site of the bowl. The bowls can either offer players the gifts or allow them to select their own gifts through a shopping spree or gift suite. According to an article by David Fox on rivals.com, at least half of the 34 bowls this year are opting to present players with shopping sprees, hosting a gift suite or letting players choose gift items from a catalog. Here are just a few of the awesome gifts that college bowl football players will be presented with this year:
Poinsettia (Utah vs. California, Dec. 23, San Diego):
Flo TV personal television and one year of service
Best Buy gift card
Sports Tek hoodie
Meineke Car Care (Pittsburgh vs. North Carolina, Dec. 26, Charlotte, N.C.):
Option of Bose Quiet Comfort headphones set or Bose Sound Dock or iPod Touch, iLive speakers and $20 gift card
OGIO duffle bag
Rose (Oregon vs. Ohio State, Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.):
19-inch Sharp television combo
For a list of even more bowl game giveaways, check out the article by David Fox at rivals.com, and rest assured that even if your favorite team is defeated in a bowl game this season, the players will not be going home empty-handed. Promotional electronics, apparel, and jewelry awaiting them in their hotel rooms should help to soften the blow of a demoralizing loss.
The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Florida Gators in the SEC title game this past weekend earning them the title of No. 1 team in the nation and a spot in the national championship game Jan. 7 in Pasadena. But unless you were not one of the 70,000 plus fans in the Georgia Dome Saturday night, nor one of the 30 million CBS viewers, you already knew that. Despite growing up within the borders of the Southeastern Conference, and with a father and older brother who both spend the majority of the fall in front of a television screen watching college football, I have never been a huge fan of the sport, or any sport for that matter. My indifference toward the game was probably further established due to the fact that I went to Emory University – a college that has never had a football team yet proudly boasts, under the symbol of a football on school apparel, “Undefeated Since 1836.”
Thus I was recently drawn to an article I happened to see in the December issue of Allure Magazine, entitled “How to Enjoy Football.” The article, based on an interview with Andrea Kremer, a reporter for NBC Sunday Night Football and a correspondent for HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, explores several ideas for how one can get more “into the game.” One of which me struck me more than the others:“Study up on the story lines. Knowing the main dramas of the season helps you see games as a series of interrelated events, not one-offs, and a lot of these stories come down to the quarterback. How is Tom Brady doing after his injury, and will his Patriots make the playoffs after falling short last year? How will Brett Favre perform when his new team, the Vikings, plays his old team, the Packers? And there’s big drama in Dallas with Tony Romo. You may know him as the guy who dumped Jessica Simpson, but the Cowboys also dumped his star wide receiver, Terrell Owens. The team has a new billion-dollar stadium and a head coach who’s in the hot seat—can they thrive under all that pressure?”
This tactic of following the story behind the game holds true in the marketing arena as well, which Acree very clearly outlined in her blog posting from last week, “Tell your brand’s story with promotional products.” in which she described the power of promotional products in reference to their ability to communicate a company’s story to their consumers.