Beach Volleyball is a great lifestyle sport that has had trouble resonating on a national level away from the Olympics in a troubled economy. In short, it costs a lot of money to support a tour which needs to build its own venues and then needs a live TV draw at a time (weekend afternoons) when those who love the sport are well, outside playing it. Hence a big reason for the demise of the AVP last year. Great lifestyle, tough to draw consistent dollars to finance. Now into that void steps the deep activation pockets of Jose Cuervo, a spirits brand that does all kinds of promotions and successful events in various settings to promote their active brand.
Cuervo has spent time in and around various levels of pro and recreational volleyball for a few years, and now will make their own play for an abbreviated calendar of professional events in markets that make sense (California especially) in the run-up to the Olympics next summer. They won’t have the large outlay and high overhead of the AVP, but they will probably be effective promotions for the brand and hopefully the sport. This past week Cuervo spent considerable dollars and got considerable bang by bringing the sport to Times Square, which as mentioned before has become the must have promotional space for everything from NASCAR to Wrestling to XGame sports in recent months. Now Cuervo Volleyball in the Square is not uncommon…the brand was in the space with a smaller promotion earlier in the year. However thois time they stepped it up by going full-court, large scale event mode, and tieing in locked out Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves as their spokesperson/star athlete. Love, a Californian schooled as UCLA and tied to the legendary Mike Love of The Beach Boys, is making an attempt to join the Cuervo Tour as it kicks off, and in the meantime will serve as a very vocal spokesperson for the brand and the sport.
Using Love as a high visibility spokesperson during the lockout makes great sense for the sport and for Cuervo. He has the time, he has a great pedigree and he is arguably one of the more popular faces of the NBA these days. His hoops play with Minnesota last year brought around a cult following, and his collegiate play at UCLA can make him a great draw, should he play, in the areas where the tour will need to draw eyeballs, fans and media coverage to make Cuervo’s spend effective. With the lockout not being close to settled, and LA without an NFL team, the Love/Cuervo Volleyball matchup is a good one, regardless of the outcome. Launching the series with the promotion in New York satisfied a great branding opportunity, and using a transcendent athlete helped lift the promotion away from those who may just follow for the sake of being interested in the sport. It pulled casual coverage and interest, which in this crowded time of year with the NFL frenzy underway, was a solid timing move as well.